SI students help improve Ann Arbor voter experience

By | February 4, 2020
young blond woman wearing a blue coat stands in front of a building next to a "Vote Here" sign.
Shaelyn Albrecht was one of three UMSI fellows who worked with the Ann Arbor City Clerk to develop the award-winning web application. (UMSI)

The Line Tracking Project, a partnership between three UMSI students and the Ann Arbor City Clerk’s Office, used several years of student research on voter wait times to develop a new public website that allows voters to check wait times at their local polling place and access additional tools to facilitate the voting process. The project recently won an award for outstanding innovation from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

During the 2016 elections, voters at Ann Arbor precincts, particularly those on U-M’s campus, experienced exceptionally long lines with some wait times as long as two hours. The City Clerk’s office found itself seeking a solution that would address the lines and help the office better understand voter turnout behavior. With record-high voter turnout estimated for the 2020 elections, the Line Tracking Project may be a critical resource for both citizens and city staff in the coming year.