2017 Semifinalist
County of Collin, TX
January 1, 2017

In 2012, a new state program allowed Collin County voters to cast ballots at any polling location within county borders for early voting and Election Day. The concept of a voter’s particular polling location was no longer valid, and the county Elections and Information Technology departments worked on finding ways to let voters know that they could vote anywhere, and to inform voters that they had an option of going to another polling location with a shorter line. Considering it a safe assumption that the County’s 460,000 registered voters in this suburban county had mobile devices, staff chose to use Quick Response (QR) Codes to launch a mobile app to direct voters to the closest polling location, including line waits at each location based on real-time traffic. The Voter Line Wait Mobile Application was a simple extension of the county's website, which had already developed a line wait dashboard that identified a polling location and the approximate line wait time as green (< 20 min.), yellow (21-40 min.) and red (>40 min.). The site included a polling location interactive map link that the voter could view or print. But the dashboard was useless if a voter was stuck in long line at a vote center. The county used a QR Code that tapped location capabilities of voters' mobile devices to determine their location and their proximity to voting centers that included the line-wait dashboard information and basic map layers. The voter turnout traffic was monitored by the Elections Command Center to post any changes at 60-plus locations. Voters merely had to scan the posted QR Code with their mobile device and decide whether to leave or stay.