CID’s Valuable Tool for Election Officials Will Soon Reach 43% of the U.S. Population
The coronavirus is making it even harder for local election officials to rely on historical voting locations, identify new sites and ensure accessibility to all residents. Now, thanks to a generous grant of nearly $1 million from the Democracy Fund, the Center for Inclusive Democracy (CID), formerly known as the California Civic Engagement Project, is expanding its Voting Location Siting Tool to a total of ten states representing 43% of the U.S. population: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Originally developed in 2018 by CID, a neutral academic research center at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, this growing public resource will help inform the successful siting of U.S. voting locations for the November 2020 General Election. Currently, the Siting Tool is available for California and Colorado. The Siting Tool will be launched in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin over the summer and early fall of 2020.
“Our Siting Tool models voting history and demographic data to produce suggested locations. Not only does this help officials make critical decisions on voting locations, it helps ensure equitable access to the ballot box so every voice can participate and be heard,” said Mindy Romero, Founder and Director of the Center for Inclusive Democracy and research assistant professor at USC Price. Romero presented the Voting Location Siting Tool project to the annual conference of the National Association of Election Officials on July 9, 2020.
The Voting Location Siting Tool’s user-friendly interactive web-based mapping system identifies areas within a half-mile in diameter where vote centers and polling places would likely have the most success in serving voters. Since its creation, the Siting Tool has been used frequently by election officials. Community stakeholders also use the demographic data layers available through the Siting Tool to inform their outreach efforts. The success of the CID Voting Location Siting Tool has been noted by many registrars and voter advocacy groups working toward the equitable siting and implementation of voting locations. The California and Colorado Secretaries of State currently recommend that their state election officials use the tool in their siting allocation process.
“With voters’ needs at its center, the expansion of the Voting Location Siting Tool will help increase the quality of election planning and execution, allowing for a higher and more representative turnout this November and in future elections. Democracy Fund is proud to support the Center for Inclusive Democracy in its work to get the data, tools and help local election officials need to make data-driven decisions to ensure voters’ voices are heard,” said Acting Elections Director Lindsay Daniels of Democracy Fund.
About the Center for Inclusive Democracy
The Center for Inclusive Democracy (CID), formerly known as the California Civic Engagement Project, is part of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and is based in Sacramento. CID conducts a range of national and multi-state research initiatives exploring voting behavior, civic engagement, electoral and economic research, the intersection of social justice and democracy, and more. Its research informs and empowers a wide range of policy and organizing efforts aimed at eliminating disparities in social and economic well-being. Now a cornerstone project nested within CID’s larger umbrella, the California Civic Engagement Project continues to produce groundbreaking resources and research for California. To learn about CID, visit our website at https://cid.usc.edu.
About University of Southern California (USC) Sol Price School of Public Policy
Since 1929, the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy has forged solutions and advanced knowledge, meeting each generation of challenges with purpose, principle and a pioneering spirit. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for people and their communities, here and abroad. We fulfill this mission through scholarship conducted by our renowned faculty and 11 research centers. The strength of the USC Price research enterprise lies in the multiplicity of interconnected disciplines and diverse passions, catalyzing new ideas to solve contemporary problems.
Research Assistant Professor