Online election hub enhancing voter participation in Waterford

Esri Ireland’s digital mapping technology underpins Ireland’s first interactive election hub

Jon Hawkins, GIS project lead, Waterford City and County Council and Dermot O’Kane, head of sales, Esri Ireland.

Esri Ireland is the market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and its digital mapping system is being used by Waterford City and County Council to help bring real-time and accurate electoral information to local citizens. It is expected to drive voter participation in the upcoming local and European elections taking place in June.

This is the first dedicated resource of its kind to be rolled out by a local authority in Ireland and provides information in both the English and Irish languages.

Real-time and transparent information

The Election Hub platform, built using Esri’s ArcGIS technology, is providing 127,000 citizens across Waterford with easy access to transparent information about electoral candidates, existing elected representatives, electoral areas, and voting and registration FAQs. Real-time data from the Register of Electors is streamed daily into the hub, creating a one-stop-shop and putting authoritative and accurate information at the fingertips of local voters.

The hub enables citizens to access interactive maps of the six electoral areas within the Waterford region where they can enter their Eircode to find their elected representatives, from local councillors to TDs. Voters can also locate their allocated polling station, and even get directions from their home address.

The Election Hub is also leading to more focused campaigning and representation for electoral candidates. Both new candidates and elected representatives can view the electoral area maps within the hub to improve their understanding of the areas they represent or seek to represent.

Levelling the playing field

The platform also levels the playing field for new and existing candidates in the lead up to elections, giving everyone equal access to information about the electorate. When elections take place, Waterford City and County Council plans to update online dashboards on the Election Hub as the results of each count are declared.

In addition, the use of the technology internally is improving the accuracy of the electoral register. Waterford City and County Council can now easily spot anomalies where clusters of houses may have been assigned to the wrong electoral area or where a voter has entered an incorrect Eircode. The inclusion of a link to the Irish Government’s Check the Register website is also encouraging more citizens to verify their information, leading to more accurate data about households.

Jon Hawkins, GIS project lead, Waterford City and County Council, said: “Waterford City and County Council needed to make information about elections more accessible to members of the public, help them find their polling stations, and remove other barriers to participation. Configuring the hub was very straightforward and it was an intuitive and responsive solution to build. The platform aims to educate citizens, inspire public confidence, and support Waterford’s prospective and elected representatives. The easy-to-use hub provides transparent, accessible information for citizens in both Irish and English to promote greater voter participation in elections.”

Dermot O’Kane, head of sales, Esri Ireland, said: “This is such an important platform which has not only improved the quality and accuracy of electoral information, but will ultimately encourage more people in local communities to have their voices heard by demystifying the voting process. It also helps local candidates to better connect with households in their electoral areas. Waterford City and County Council is doing invaluable work in this area and we are delighted to support this innovative use of our ArcGIS technology. Our system is flexible and can scale as the council’s capabilities continue to grow.”

For details contact: +353 (0)1 869 3900 ; mapsmakesense@esri-ireland.ie or go to esri-ireland.ie