A GIScience approach to analyzing spatial patterns of voter turnout in Omaha, Nebraska

Kaitlyn Taylor, H. Jason Combs, Paul R. Burger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scholars from a variety of disciplines have analyzed voter participation, with most studies focusing on socio-demographic issues to explain turnout. Often overlooked, however, is the geography of voter participation. Omaha, Nebraska presents an economically and ethnically diverse study area to examine geographic factors related to turnout. Over 51 percent of the state’s registered voters live in three counties—Douglas, Sarpy, and Lancaster—which contain the Omaha and Lincoln metropolitan areas. This project employs Geographic Information Science (GIScience) along with electoral geography principles and spatial analysis to evaluate voter participation across the Omaha metropolitan area. Getis-Ord Gi* statistic is utilized to demonstrate statistically significant spatial clustering of high and low values of voter participation and turnout at the census block-group level. This study also examines a number of demographic variables through stepwise regression that help explain voting patterns in the Omaha metropolitan area. Results indicate that, independent of party affiliation, educated, middle-class, white populations in Omaha have higher voter participation rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-114
Number of pages16
JournalGeographical Bulletin - Gamma Theta Upsilon
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • GIScience
  • Nebraska
  • Voter turnout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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