On April 26, 2021 the Census Bureau released its official 2020 population counts. These preliminary counts tell us, among other things, which states are going to lose or gain U.S. House seats however the detailed data needed to redraw the lines and other demographic information became available in August 2021. Typically these data are released much earlier in the year after the decennial Census however were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
L2 has started the process of collecting and integrating the updated, detailed census information into our voter and consumer file taxonomies as well as incorporate the 2020 Census boundary information. This process will likely take several weeks to a month to ingest, format and update all of the files. The census information we expect to obtain in September will include all of the data reported by the “American Community Survey” which includes employment status, insurance coverage, commuting information, occupation/industry, income estimates/benefits, poverty level and others.
L2’s national voter file database and VoterMapping Platform are built to be flexible and updated as districts change. Over the past decade, there have been dozens of changes prompted by court rulings and state legislatures that have resulted in L2 updating boundaries quickly. Here’s how L2 handles these changes:
● Proposed Updates: Where available L2 will provide proposed boundary updates inside of our VoterMapping Platform. These updates will appear as selectable visual boundary layers allowing users to and see those proposed changes overlaid on the map and compared to current districts. While not every state will make these data available L2 we do everything possible to give our users a look at those proposed boundaries.
● VoterMapping: Once state and federal district changes become official L2 will be able to immediately add the boundary overlay files giving users the ability to select and see the districts inside of our VoterMapping platform. Other databases without a mapping element or without the ability to quickly update will not be able to display boundaries with the same level of speed or at all.
● Bigger Team & Better Processes: Over the past two years, L2 has added engineers to our development team and improved processes to speed up the development of state voter files to ensure the fastest possible turnaround times once the boundaries are available as part of the state voter files.
● Historical Data: When new boundaries take effect L2 does not remove the old boundaries, L2 keeps those in our system giving users the ability to compare the old boundaries to the updated boundaries. Users can perform an instant analysis inside VoterMapping as well as in the database files themselves where these historic boundary data will be kept.
● Five Decades of Experience: Voter file processing is complex in a ‘normal year’, 2021 presents the unique challenges of updates to districts after a decennial census that are released late due to a global pandemic. L2’s 50 years+ of voter file processing experience will ensure data are processed correctly and as fast as possible giving campaigns, consultants, researchers, media outlets and others the fastest and most accurate look at the districts for 2022 and beyond.
To learn more about L2’s Update schedule and other available data and products you can sign up for L2’s weekly newsletter HERE.