Application of GIS in Elections

Thanks, AA, Intro to GIS

As we saw in the elections in US and Canada, the use of GIS applications in elections can easily transmit information to the residents. This system was used in Washoe County, Nevada on November 7, 2006 for the general election in Nevada (Harkins et al., 2007). As the polls closed, the map was broadcast on television and updated when new results came in. The application incorporated the county of Washoe that displayed various map symbols including roads, urban areas and water zones. For every question on the ballot, an individual map of the county was displayed with the results. The county was symbolized with different colors, charts, and graphs that explained the results from the ballots. The same method was also used in the 2008 U.S. presidential election as voting results were displayed on maps of counties, states and the country of the U.S.A. (Geographic Information Services, 2008).

This application of GIS for elections is an ideal system that is being used more often throughout elections. This new system enables residents to be more aware of what is occurring at a small grain of detail around their neighborhood during election time. It is also an ideal method to give political analysts an overview of the election progress without much additional work. This method is also useful for television or the Internet because it can show residents who have have not yet voted the election activity of nearby precincts. Using GIS in elections is the most efficient way to broadcast the results because it is fast, clear and can be updated and broadcast immediately to the public.

Harkins, Kobe and Lawton, Matthew. Real-Time Tracking of the Washoe County. Technology Services Department. Nevada. 2007.

Geographic Information Services. Election 2008.

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