Each Election Day, Kane County, Illinois, sends staff members from its IT department to each polling station to ensure that all election equipment is up and running at full capacity by 6:00 a.m. The county covers approximately 524 square miles, so this is quite an operation.
IT staff members must be at the first polling station by 5:15 a.m. to inspect equipment such as Wi-Fi pucks, printers, and pollbook tablets. They troubleshoot, document, and resolve any issues and make notes about how effective the polling station’s setup is. Once they deem a polling station ready for voting, they quickly move on to the next one to do the same thing. Throughout the day, these staff members are also on hand to fix any new issues that pop up until polling stations close at 7:00 p.m. Depending on the type of election—whether it’s a big, national election or one with only local measures on the ballot—the county makes varying numbers of IT staff available to support polling stations, each of which is unique and unfamiliar to the crew.
This all used to be cumbersome to plan. The Kane County GIS team would present large paper maps to management, who used them to dole out assignments. Managers often went through several iterations when creating their staff members’ routes, and they couldn’t systematically share anything.
For the March 2019 local election, however, which required 37 support staff to provide assistance to 121 polling stations, the GIS group collaborated with the IT development team to implement something different. Using web maps built in ArcGIS Online, managers were not only able to come up with better routes more easily and efficiently, but they were also able to introduce spatial analysis to the process.