This August, Buncombe County Election Services was honored at the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners' 2017 Annual Conference with the LGFCU Excellence in Innovation Award for “What’s the Wait?: An Integrated Technology Early Voting Wait Map.”
For the 2016 Presidential Election, the County created an online map to display the number of voters in line at each of 20 early voting locations. The Board of Elections wanted to provide this option because radio advertising, signs, and social media conveying information were not producing the desired results.
The Early Voting Wait Map helped voters choose when and where to vote, showed them how to get to their voting location, helped spread voters more evenly across voting locations, and assisted election staff in providing faster and more efficient service. Buncombe served over 100,000 voters during the period, with the map receiving nearly 32,000 views with abundant media attention. Most importantly, the Buncombe early voting program operated for 2 weeks with NO complaint-worthy lines and NO significant administrative errors.
Additionally, without the long lines the last day of early voting was able to close at the predesignated hour. The live map (updated on our website every 15 minutes) proved useful not only to voters but also in-house for alerting staff to sites with growing lines where additional support could be dispatched. The map saved 133 hours of phone time, returning $2,800 to the county.
Without the online map, early voting would have required an additional worker for the early voting period, at a cost of $1,728. The combined amount of labor savings is almost 7 weeks of work time! The need for fewer poll workers, shorter hours for temporary office workers, and a reduction in preprinted ballots saved nearly $19,000.
Matt Gunnet, Member Services Coordinator for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners presented the Election Services Team with the Award and a check for $1,000 at the Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting on October 17, 2017. Elections Services Team Members Trena Parker Velez, Corrine Duncan, Gene Hume, Jennifer Sparks and Vicky Magnis were recognized. Buncombe County Election Services is dedicated to improving efficiency and serving our voters through technology and a collaborative approach. Kudos to the team.
If you would like to see the Project Summary click here
If you would like to see the award presentation click here