Friday, February 24, 2017

A GIS-based spatial analysis on neighborhood effects and voter turn-out: a case study in College Station, Texas

This study uses geo-referencing to track the outcomes of voter turnout in local elections. GIS matches addresses to the effects of voting. This study concludes that when the effects of the vote highly affect the neighborhood, voting is broadly clustered and diverse amongst the neighborhood. However, when the effects of a statute are low on the neighborhood, the votes are highly concentrated, proving that only a small group of individuals care about a legislation. 

For instance, when a piece of legislation that affects a group of people in a certain income bracket, like a tax policy, typically the votes for that legislation will be centered in the area where people of that bracket live. However, if votes are spread out, because more people voted, typically the legislation is something more broad, like an environmental policy or a safety concern. Individuals usually vote in their primary self-interest, making them less likely to vote on a policy that has no effect on their daily life, and on the contrary, people typically are more motivated to vote when a policy will directly affect them. By mapping addresses through GIS, voting patterns can be recognized and correlated to policy interests. 

Sui, D. Z., & Hugill, P. J. (2002). A GIS-based spatial analysis on neighborhood effects and voter turn-out:: a case study in College Station, Texas. Political Geography21(2), 159-173.


  1. It seems hard to tell with this map on how populated the area is, and exactly how many votes difference it made.

  2. I'm curious what data sets the researchers used to make these maps. It would also be interesting to include the demographics of the voters, if that information was available.