With election day right around the corner, 16 Shippensburg University Wood Honors College students have created a first-of-its-kind voting data map that shows statistics and changes in voting patterns over time. The SUPER Map (Shippensburg University Pennsylvania Election Research Map) features statistics on voter registration, partisan turnout and electoral victories for every county in PA as far back as 2014.
The entirely student-created data map aims to assist news organizations in their coverage of Pennsylvania elections.
With the guidance of Dr. Alison Dagnes, professor of political science, the students collected and organized the data. Retired geography/earth science faculty member Dr. Jan Smith helped them turn the data into a GIS story map.
According to Dagnes, this student research project is a valuable tool because it showcases how voting patterns have changed around the state, delivers fact-based information, brings light to smaller voting counties and provides a thorough look at the very state that is often the tipping point in presidential elections.
The project was just as valuable to the student researchers who came from a variety of academic majors.
“This project made me brush off my ArcGIS Pro skills. ArcGIS Pro was the software we used to create the maps, along with ESRI’s suite of online applications to bring everything to life. Additionally, I don’t consider myself to be too caught up in politics, so it was nice to learn more about them and how everything worked together,” said Hannah Moats, computer science major.
“This project was very valuable to me as a student. I not only learned a lot about elections and Pennsylvania politics from Dr. Dagnes, but I also learned a new ArcGIS program which will help me with utilizing GIS later in my career as an engineer,” said Garret Funk, civil engineering major.
“This class has not only taught me the basics about midterm elections and their importance, but it has led to hands-on interaction with the voting process and a deeper understanding of the way that Pennsylvania voters participate in our elections,” said Hannah Cornell, English major.