In 2018, Collin County expected large numbers of residents to show up at polling places during midterm elections. To encourage this, county officials wanted to provide a more modern voting experience that saved voters' time and made the best use of every polling place. They created an easy-to-use web app that helps voters find polling places with short wait times.
During previous elections, the county realized that some voting centers were overflowing with people while others were practically empty. After researching the problem, it became apparent that voters often rely on "muscle memory" and their past voting experience to find polling places. In other words, they simply go to the polling place where they voted the last time, even if they must wait in long lines to cast their ballot. Old voter habits caused overcrowding at certain polling places and frustrated voters in the process. What the county needed was to give people a simple way to find and get to polling places with the shortest wait times, so that voters could get in and out fast and then carry on with their day.
Collin County, Texas
Reduce overcrowding at voting locations and notify citizens where they could cast their votes in the county.
Use ArcGIS Online and Esri’s Polling Place Locator web app to route citizens to the most convenient polling place.
Collin County had very short wait times across their jurisdiction for citizens to vote and the highest early voter turnout in the state.
To improve the voting experience, the county teamed up with an Esri partner to modify Esri's Polling Place Locator solution template, a configurable web application that residents can access on the government web page and on their mobile devices, to view their specific vote centers. The Collin County GIS team configured the solution template to show wait times at all voting centers and turn-by-turn directions from the user's current location to the appropriate polling place. The configurable template is connected with Esri's ArcGIS Online, a software-as-a-service solution that helps local governments understand locations and relationships with maps and visual representations. ArcGIS Online provides the ability to collect location data, organize it, and maintain accurate details about assets, such as polling places. Esri's Polling Place Locator is a free web-based template that ArcGIS Online users can quickly download, configure, and deploy on their websites and make available to the public.
During the 2018 midterm elections, people used the app to find the nearest polling location or the nearest polling place with the shortest wait time. The Election Polling Place Locator web page received nearly 90,000-page views, which showed that the app was solving a real need for citizens. During election day, the app generated over 110,000 routes, helping residents navigate to their polling places. As a result, Collin County had the highest early voting turnout in the state of Texas and 61 percent total voter turnout, nearly as high as the presidential elections.
Making it easier for people to get to their polling place using GIS is one thing we can do to reach out to citizens in a friendlier way.
Collin County also uses Esri interactive mapping to help citizens learn about precincts for voting, commissioners, justices of the peace, and constables, as well as federal, state senate, and house of representatives districts.
For more information, visit: go.esri.com/Elections-CC