In Yolo County, California, recently elected elections official Jesse Salinas approached the Information Technology (IT) division of the county's General Services Department, interested in how he could significantly streamline the elections process. More specifically, he planned to use geographic information system (GIS) technology to rethink the elections experience for the constituents and his staff. The goal was to provide the public with a modern feel on Election Day by the 2018 midterm election.
The county had four challenges: improve resource allocation, reduce response time through efficient routing to polling stations, strengthen communication to citizens on election results, and increase future turnout through targeted outreach and education.
Yolo County Elections Department
Yolo County had a very manual process of assisting polling places and updating citizens with results on election day
Survey 123 for ArcGIS
Workforce for ArcGIS
Yolo County can now focus on providing up-to-date results, collect voting data to improve future outreach and enhance the way government connects with citizens.
Improving communication between the field and election headquarters required a mobile solution to automate requests for services, resolve supply shortages, and address problems at polling stations. The county developed an app using Esri's Survey123 for ArcGIS to empower poll workers to input work order requests on their mobile devices. Once entered, the information is pushed to the elections base for prioritization and handling. The workflow was enhanced by feeding the collected requests data to Workforce for ArcGIS, an app that helped assign tasks, route and track field personnel, and provide work status updates back to the office on a digital dashboard.
Strengthening communication with citizens meant delivering timely and accessible election results through a public-facing web app. Using Elections Results, a configurable solution template, the county moved from a static representation of election results to a dynamic visualization and interactive tool.
Salinas now has 2018 voting data and plans to collect future data to monitor historic voting patterns and use analytical tools to improve elections outreach and education. This location-based information will help pinpoint neighborhoods that have a low voter turnout and will target voter education for groups that need a greater understanding of the voting process and voter options.
Yolo County's election headquarters had its quietest early morning Election Day in comparison to previous years. The Election department had significantly fewer incoming calls from polling stations asking for additional resources and support. The integration of Survey123 for ArcGIS with Workforce for ArcGIS ensured that the back-office staff were instantly notified and able to route the nearest available field personnel to assist polling places.
This new process allowed Salinas's team more time to focus on other aspects of the election, such as increasing efforts to engage the community and provide timely election results throughout the night.
We can now begin to look at patterns of low participation in the various neighborhoods and start to develop strategies to change the less engaged election patterns of the past toward greater participation in the future.
Yolo County discovered that GIS not only allowed it to effortlessly collect data but also dive deeper into what that information means. By partnering with the IT and GIS teams, the Election department was able to modernize its election management workflows, enable the county to enhance communication, increase government dependability and trust, and provide essential outreach to its citizens.
For more information on modernizing election day operations visit: