GIST M.S. student Luke Wenschhof cares about your vote. Or more specifically, he cares about the way in which all votes are counted, and the anomaly of the US electoral college in which a candidate can be elected president without winning the popular vote. Luke investigated the geographic consequences of the use of the electoral college for a GIST class, and will present the results of those investigations at the meeting of the Northeast Arc Users Group conference in November.
Luke investigates a classic defense of the electoral college, that it preserves the influence of rural voters, whose preferences would be swamped by urban voters if the college were dissolved. He maps swing state voting patterns in the 2008 election using GIS, the “voter power” statistic, and thematic cartogram maps. The results will be particularly interesting in light of the meeting’s timing right after election day.
Luke is pursuing his M.S. in Geographic Information Science and Technology while working as the GIS/IT coordinator at the Fairport Municipal Commission in upstate New York where he introduced GIS to the workflow of the small municipal power provider. He holds a B.S. in Geography from SUNY Geneseo and received a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Penn State before starting the program at USC.
The Northeast Arc Users Group (NEARC) is one of several independent regional organizations that represent users of Geographic Information System (GIS) software developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) of Redlands, California. NEARC was formed in 1986; the geographic area encompassed by the group includes New England, New York and New Jersey, with some participation from users in Pennsylvania and Delaware.