Map the Vote: Election Cartographic Resources Available from Ball State University Libraries
Election Day is tomorrow, and maps can be an ideal tool for illustrating information and statistics about elections. The widely-used “blue states and red states” explanation of states’ party affiliations has become a cultural phrase made popular by an election map from the 2000 presidential election.
The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) houses many maps, atlases, and other resources about elections—both current and historical. Maps depicting the newly-drawn Congressional districts, maps showing election results, and maps of local election precincts are available for research in the GRMC. U.S. Census data is also available in the GIS Research lab, and users can access more election statistics from CD-ROMs in the Collection.
One of the most popular election maps in the GRMC is the National Atlas of the United States of America: Presidential Elections, 1789-2008. This map (insets and photograph above), published by the federal government, identifies how each state voted in every presidential election since 1789. It features a larger map of the election results from the 2008 election (shown above, click to enlarge), where Indiana voted for the Democrat candidate for the first time since 1964 (inset maps above). The main map displays the popular vote by county; an inset map shows the results of the electoral vote. This map is currently displayed in the front windows of the GRMC.
The Atlas Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library can also be an invaluable resource for political research. Atlases about specific political themes are available. Atlas of American Women, Atlas of U.S. Foreign Relations, Atlas of World Affairs, Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress, and Student Atlas of World Politics are all available from the Atlas Collection. Census Atlas of the United States is available in the GRMC.
Atlas of American Politics, 1960-2000 features several maps about elections, including voter turnout. This atlas also contains maps illustrating important events such as the impeachment vote of President Clinton and topics such as the environment, capital punishment, abortion, and the number of women serving in state legislatures. The Atlas Collection also includes election resources from other countries, including the first elections in Kosovo and Poland.
Researchers can also access a cartographic study guide from the GRMC, which lists all of the available political resources. Political Science and Election Research Cartographic Resources is available in PDF-format here.
Maps from the GRMC circulate for two weeks or longer. Atlases may be circulated for 28 days or longer.
For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.