The Long Island Index on Monday launched a new online search tool that allows Nassau and Suffolk residents to navigate the special district elections slated for next week.
There are 158 elections in special districts -- small, independent units of government that provide services such as firefighting, sanitation and water -- scheduled for Dec. 10. The elections give the public a chance to vote on the commissioners who run the districts and set their budgets.
The district elections typically suffer from low voter turnout, and the search tool will make it easier for residents to know where to vote, said Ann Golob, director of the Long Island Index.
"This is a fact of our existence on Long Island. It becomes very confusing," Golob said. "People don't even know what districts they live in."
The website, called Special District Election Finder, allows residents to plug in their addresses to find out which districts serve them and when their district's election takes place.
The website also provides contact information for the district, and information about other government service providers in the area.
South Hempstead resident Laura Mallay, executive director of Residents for Efficient Special Districts, called the website "a great resource" and said she hopes it will push more residents to go to the polls.
"It's huge, because at the end of the day, it's not that people don't care, it's that they really don't know," Mallay said.
The Long Island Index built the website by delineating service provider boundaries with computer mapping software, the group said Monday in a statement.
The Long Island Index is a project of the Rauch Foundation, a Garden City-based community group.
The search tool is available free at mydistricts.longislandindexmaps.org.