Managing Registered Voter Information

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Organizing local government elections is an important component of
how a community operates and can often be a significant investment, both
in time and resources, for that community’s staff. While information
on registered voters is often maintained by a county or township, local
government staff may also need to use this data to assist with planning
and executing various aspects of the elections process. To help prepare
for an upcoming city council election, the City of Des Plaines, IL was
asked to provide a list of all registered voter addresses to potential
candidates so they could petition for signatures to get on the local
ballot.

The Des Plaines city council is made up of eight aldermen, each
representing a different ward, or electoral area, within the city and
each potential candidate that wants to run for alderman can only
petition registered voters within their respective ward. Since the list
of registered voters provided by the county is for the entire city, the
city’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department was asked to
assist city staff with determining which addresses from the master list
fall within each ward boundary.

Using previously developed ward boundary data and the master list of
registered voters provided by the county, the GIS department staff was
able to geocode, or match to a known location, each registered address
within a specific city ward. Once an address was linked to a ward, a
list of registered voter locations for each ward could be created and
provided to city staff for distribution to the alderman candidates.
Before using GIS to assist with the project, this process could take
city staff several weeks to accomplish, taking away time and resources
from other important city functions.