Ohio Secretary of State

EAC Election Data Collection and Management

Project Overview

The United States Congress in the Omnibus Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008, Public Law 110-161 authorized the award of $2 million grants to five states to improve the collection of precinct-level elections data relating to the November 2008 election. Ohio has received one of five $2 million Grants to improve the collection of precinct-level elections data relating to the November 2008 election. The granting agency was the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The outcome of this project will be reported to the U.S. Congress in July 2009.

In 2009 Woolpert was selected to develop a first-of-its-kind voter redistricting system for the Ohio Secretary of State's Office.

Project Objectives

  • The one-time creation of a state-wide precinct boundary and polling location map for use with HAVA voter registration and election data.
  • Approximately 12,000 voter precincts and other electoral boundaries from various manuscripts sourced from county boards-of-election.
    • Boundaries must be correlated (by automated conflation) to U.S. Census Bureau TIGER Block Boundaries.
  • Develop an integrated mapping application for maintenance of voting district boundaries and other election-related data (EMMA).
    • A complete production-ready application usable by all eighty-eight county boards of election in Ohio.
  • Develop a proof-of-concept EAC voter registration election reporting tool with MapViewer integration to the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) Publisher.
    • With potential use in real-time election day publishing
  • Technology transfer including documentation, source code, mentoring and training of personnel from the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State.

Project Challenges

  • Schedule (six month start-to-finish)
  • Complex legal and business requirements
  • Cooperation between state and 88 county agencies
  • Technology transfer

Key Business & Statutory Requirements

  • R.C. 3501.18(B)(1) provides that precincts must be based upon geographic units (census tracts and census blocks) developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Census Bureau."
  • "Boards of Elections may seek waivers from the Secretary of State from strict adherence to the census' geographic units in creating precincts based upon geographic considerations and local development practices."
  • "In practice, the boards of elections have had a substantial amount of discretion to redraw and combine precincts. The trend over the last few years is for county boards of elections to have fewer precincts due to limited resources in terms of poll workers and the allocation of voting equipment."

Excerpted from Creation of Political Subdivisions & Precincts Under Ohio Law, by Brian Shinn, Assistant General Counsel

Middle-Tier Spatial Editor?

  • Spatial database is not GIS!
  • When is middle-tier spatial editing indicated?
    • Many independent participants
      • Counties in a State
      • Agencies and Municipalities in a large County
      • Public input
    • Well constrained edit problem that can be defined as an application task as compared to open-ended GIS editing.
    • Centralized control and management is central to the mission.
    • Task is part of a larger middle-tier solution.


  • Oracle Spatial
  • Oracle Maps
  • JPA (Eclipselink)
  • JSF (ADF Rich Client)
  • JavaScript
  • AJAX
  • Java
  • JDeveloper
  • Weblogic

The data model

  • U.S. Census MAF/Tiger data
  • Ohio HAVA Voter database
  • Voter Districts and Precincts
  • Proposals, working and archive tables


Ohio HAVA Voter Database

  • Voters
    • Have addresses
  • Addresses
    • Have regions
  • Regions
    • Include precincts
  • Precincts
    • Should have no more than 1400 voters
  • Custom Geocoder
    • against MAF/Tiger Edges

Voter Districts & Precincts

  • Voter Districts may be
    • Actual – Precinct boundaries match VTD boundaries
    • Pseudo – Precinct boundaries cross Census Block boundaries and therefore cannot match VTD boundaries which are collections of Census Blocks

Editing Voting Districts

  • VTD Editing
    • Simply involves adding, removing, transffering Census Blocks (TABBLOCK) between VTDs
  • Precinct (Pseudo-VTD editing)
    • Match actual VTD by default
    • Adding, removing, transferring FACES.
    • Editing boundaries
    • Requires synchronization of boundary edits for coincident Precincts

Proposal Management

  • Proposals
    • Supports multiple proposals
    • Requires
      • SOS
      • authorization
    • Once authorized finalization drops alternatives

Login Page

The login page leverages the credential management subsystem

Credential Management

The Credential Management subsystem is managed using a separate application OHSOSAdmin. The system supports a secure LDAP like credential system where Users belong to Groups, and have Roles and Permissions. Groups are collections of Roles and Roles are collections of Permissions. We will associate GROUPS with Counties and permit delegated user management to designated County contacts. Membership in a County Group will be used to restrict edit activities to user counties.

Create Proposal

All editing activities must take place within the context of a proposal. Editing works against copies of the data until the OH SOS has approved the proposal and it has been Finalized by the submitter.

Find Census Blocks for VTD

In most cases Voting Districts can be modified by simply adding or removing Census Blocks. This is accomplished by clicking the MINUS and PLUS signs in the list of Census Blocks associated with a Voting District

Face Edit

Precinct Boundary Edit

Precinct Boundary Edit

  • Requires when Precinct boundaries are not associated with MAF/Tiger EDGES
  • Utilizes Oracle Maps Redlining tools
  • Uses AJAX to call Servlet methods to ensure that edit affects both Precincts associated with a boundary

When a PRECINCT differs from a VTD (Voting District) in a manner that cannot be described by FACES alone it will be necessary to edit the PRECINCT boundary. This requires graphic editing tools in JavaScript and the use of Java code in the Servlet to ensure that coincident PRECINCT boundaries are always synchronized. That is if we add, remove, or move a point on the boundary of PRECINCT A that the corresponding point on the adjacent PRECINCT B is altered in exactly the same way.

Before Editing

Start Editing

Move Point

Add Point

Delete Point

Save Edit

How It's Done

  • JSPX
    • ADF Rich Client – Oracle's latest JavaServer Faces component package that is the heart of the Fusion 11g J2EE presentation layer.
  • JS
    • Integrates with Oracle Maps and ADF
  • AJAX
    • Uses XMLHttpRequest() to communicate with Java
  • Java
    • Interacts with database to synchronize adjacent precincts.




In Conclusion

  • Very short time-frame, 5 month time frame is half over and core functionality is already in place leaving ample time to refine.
  • Oracle Maps has been the most stable component of the emerging Oracle technologies.
  • ADF Rich Client provides a superb development environment to bridge Servlet and JavaScript environments.
  • Mizar packages designed to integrate ADF-RC and Oracle Maps permitted rapid deployment of core system.