The 2018 US midterm elections were notable for numerous reasons. According to Business Insider, the recent midterms broke records for early voter turnout in a non-presidential election, the number of female candidates both running and ultimately elected, and fundraising for congressional elections, among numerous other categories.
Another interesting element of the midterms was a multi-state project that used artificial intelligence (AI) to identify eligible voters and clean up voter rolls. The software, designed by data scientist Jeff Jonas, is utilized by the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). As the center’s executive director Shane Hamlin told the New York Times’ Steve Lohr, “It connects the dots for us. It’s actionable data.”
Ensuring the integrity of voter rolls is a complicated problem—think of how many people move, change their names, or die in a given year. Jonas’ technology, which he is advancing in a startup called Senzing, helps to address these issues by using AI to identify and resolve identity discrepancies. When linked with data from participating states, the technology also helps to find eligible but unregistered voters.
Lohr’s piece suggests that its dual-purpose nature is what separates ERIC from other similar data initiatives, which unlike ERIC quickly became politicized. Judd Choate, Colorado’s director of elections, told Lohr, “ERIC has been a game changer in elections for those of us in it.”
Both the challenges and opportunities examined in Lohr’s piece have parallels in the corporate world. When companies remove data silos, encourage cross-departmental collaboration on data projects, and embrace new technologies, they can augment intelligence to improve business outcomes.
States utilizing ERIC see better data integrity in voter rolls and an increase in voter turnout. What could it do for your organization?