13 Feb Can GIS Help the Nation’s Electoral System?
Does GIS have a future in elections?
There have been numerous states that have advocated for the use of GIS in elections. They believe that GIS will produce a more accurate and reliable system. So how will GIS become a reliable system? With dynamically stacking data and real-time interaction, GIS will have no problems providing greater insight to election officials. In addition, GIS will produce less human interaction during the election, which will decrease human mistakes. The National States Geographic Information Council created Geo-Enabled elections projects to help states learn how to incorporate GIS technology.
Many election supervisors are expressing interest in GIS technology. About 5 out of every 6 election supervisors that were interviewed said they have a GIS expert, but only one in three said their voter registration systems could support GIS data. “We’re very encouraged by the interest and enthusiasm we’ve encountered among election directors,” said Molly Schar, NSGIC executive director. “Few state election offices in the United States are fully GIS integrated. However, election directors, on the whole, are motivated to deploy the technology to increase accuracy and gain efficiencies in their election data management processes.”
So, why incorporate geospatial data into election software? Well, the data makes sure the right ballot gets to the right voter, which helps resolve the issue of human error and increase election reliability. In addition, GIS helps election officials show voters as pinpoints on a map. These pinpoints are then used to create voting districts and help with quality control. “Voting district boundaries as geometrical shapes that surround those pinpoints — offers some very concrete advantages.” (Geospatial World).
It’s only a matter of time until GIS will be implemented in all elections. When that day comes, everyone will be able to breathe a little easier about the reliability of elections.
GeoTel has the necessary services that can help benefit election supervisors that are looking to implement GIS technology. For example, GeoTel can provide various sources of data such as census data which includes population, education, household, ethnicity, income, and age. GeoTel can also provide other sources of data such as county boundaries, congressional districts, and CBSA’s (Core Base Statistical Areas).