Voter registration and turnout figures for the May 2017 municipal election tell an exciting story of real progress in San Antonio’s efforts to increase voter participation. Comparing the May joint elections rather than June runoffs to get an apples-to-apples comparison, the number of registered voters increased by a quarter in two years – from 821,615 in 2015 to 1,026,817 in 2017. These huge gains in voter registration had the effect of making overall turnout – the total number of voters who cast a ballot as a percentage of total registered voters – appear to drop slightly, from 11.89 in 2015 to 11.32 in 2017.
The total number of ballots cast in 2017 was 116,222, though – a whopping gain of 19% over 2015’s total of 97,697. If we look at it by voting precinct instead of county-wide, turnout as a percent of registered voters rose in two-thirds of voting precincts, and more than one in ten precincts showed a 10% or greater increase in turnout. Maybe most exciting is the distribution of the increase – both registration and turnout increasing across the county, including central-city and lower-income neighborhoods.
CI:Now’s Laura McKieran and Bob Gradeck of the University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) in Pittsburgh co-presented via webinar to a group of grantees of the Citi Community Progress Makers Fund on ways to support open data and how San Antonio is organizing and collaborating to build local data capacity. CI:Now and UCSUR are both local partners in the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership.
CI:Now’s Laura McKieran presented as part of the Resilient Neighborhoods panel at the 2017 Mayor’s Housing Summit. Environmental, economic, and social stressors can all have a negative impact on individuals, families and social networks, and neighborhoods and cities. But data can be used to understand current conditions, historical trends and likely future scenarios, relationships among issues, and demographic and geographic patterns, helping us prevent and mitigate both acute and chronic disasters from flash to floods to persistent intergenerational poverty.
Laura McKieran participated in a panel at the May 2017 National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership meeting on Advancing the Role of Neighborhoods in Health. Her presentation focused on how partners can work with health information exchanges (HIEs) to integrate data on person and place to assess neighborhood and population conditions, target and evaluate interventions, and explore and show relationships between neighborhood well-being and individual well-being.
On May 9, 2017 CI:Now’s Laura McKieran presented on the new Alamo Regional Data Alliance (ARDA) to the Alamo Area GIS User Group, introducing ARDA’s vision, new community strategy, and ways to get involved.
CI:Now’s Laura McKieran introduced CI:Now and the Alamo Regional Data Alliance (ARDA) to the San Antonio Funders Group on April 6, 2017. The Funders Group learned about ARDA’s new community strategy, what work CI:Now is already doing in these areas, what remains to be done, and the roles local foundations and philanthropists can play in improving lives by establishing and supporting a culture of data-driven action.
CI:Now’s Laura McKieran joined urban planner John Osten on The Source on Texas Public Radio on March 21 to talk about how San Antonio fares on SA2020’s walkability measure and what we can do to make our city more walkable. Listen to the audio or see some live-tweeted highlights.
CI:Now participated in the National League of Cities University‘s Healthy Cities workshop at the Congressional Cities Conference in Washington, DC on March 11, 2017. CI:Now’s role in the panel, moderated by Kathy Pettit, Director of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, was to talk about San Antonio’s experience in using data to drive health policy and practice.
CI:Now’s Laura McKieran joined Molly Cox, Director of SA2020, to talk about SA2020’s new Impact Report on The Source on Texas Public Radio. Listen to the audio or see some live-tweeted highlights.
CI:Now Director Laura McKieran participated in a panel discussion at the 2017 Healthcare Data Reporting Conference organized by HASA, the area health information exchange, to talk about and highlight the power of data sharing for community providers. CI:Now’s portion of the Community Benefits of a Central Health Data Repository panel discussion focused on the value proposition of connecting multiple community data sets to:
- learn more about the health effects of risk factors (e.g., daily number and pattern of emergency room visits given daily air pollution levels),
- explore intersections among issues to inform interventions (e.g., the effect on student absenteeism of student, sibling, and/or parent emergency room visits), and
- measure intervention outcomes (e.g., effect of a promotora program on 30-day readmissions; effect of an integrated care program on emergency room visits and hospital admissions by “high utilizer” individuals with serious mental illness)