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September 20 @ 12:01 am - October 20 @ 11:59 pm

Why Take the #MapToTheVote Challenge?

During the 2020 pandemic, access to mobility and transportation has been very difficult for people who do not have access to private vehicles or are unable to drive. This has inequitably impacted communities that have been traditionally travel-disadvantaged even before COVID-19. Communities including urban and suburban poor, older adults and people with disabilities, have all felt the brunt.

These same travel-marginalized communities are more likely to either be required to vote in the 2020 election at designated voting places or to return mailed ballots in voting drop boxes (see note 1) as opposed to using USPS services to mail in their ballots. As noted in a CNN report on Aug.4, 2020 "There are... legitimate concerns about the United States Postal Service's (USPS) ability to handle an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots without additional support from Congress. The pandemic has understandably strained the already underfunded Postal Service."

Why #MapToTheVote? People need good, clear directions on getting to voting locations, ballot drop-off boxes and USPS locations without depending on public transportation, and the election is so few days away!

What is this challenge?

TCAT is running a month long team challenge starting September 20, to #maptothevote-- mapping pedestrian and bicycle spaces to provide safe, accessible routes to voting locations, ballot drop boxes, and post offices. Every team will be entering mapping information according to the team challenge RULES, and follow DESIGNATED MAPPING GUIDELINES. When registering teams, teams will specify the location from which they intend to start mapping. Starting locations should be voting locations, ballot box drop-off locations or USPS locations. Teams can expand outward from this location as much as they like. Winning teams will have mapped a minimum of 4 miles of pedestrian or bicycle paths outward from their starting location.

There will be three winning teams. First place will receive $1000, second place will receive $400, third place will receive $100. Additional promotional swag will be sent out to Teams.

How are teams scored?

At the end of the challenge (October 20, 2020), every team will submit a Team Challenge Submission Form (forms will be sent to each registered Team Lead). In the Team Challenge Submission, Teams will let us know what area the team completed mapping. Our scoring algorithm will be taking the specified team region, downloading the relevant change sets the team provided during the Team Challenge Period, and analyzing the maps the team provided for the following attributes:

  1. Total length of sidewalks and bike paths that were mapped
  2. Connectivity of the sidewalk and bike network
  3. Intersections and crossings that were properly mapped
  4. Added points and attributes for all the barriers and additional elements and attributes listed in the DESIGNATED MAPPING GUIDELINES or as explained by the team why such attributes are impactful for people traveling in their community.

PLEASE read the RULES and TERMS AND CONDITIONS (downloadable through the Rules page), and feel free to ask us any questions.

When you're ready, register your team here:

Note 1: Even if all states decided to participate in Voting By Mail (VBM), there is still a large bias in the community towards dropping ballots off in a designated location. According to responses to the 2016 Survey of the Performance of American Elections , 73% of voters in Colorado (VBM since 2013), 59% in Oregon (VBM since 1998) and 65% in Washington (VBM since 2011) returned their ballots to some physical location such as a drop box or local election office. Even among those who returned their ballots by mail in these states, 47% dropped off their ballot at a U.S. Post Office or neighborhood mailbox rather than having their own postal worker pick it up at home. Thus, it's more accurate to describe these votes as “ballots by mail and drop off at designated locations."


September 20 @ 12:01 am
October 20 @ 11:59 pm