The Year in OpenElections

December 30, 2013

2013

As 2014 approaches, our team at OpenElections wanted to share an update on our progress and plans for the new year. Looking back, an anthropologist might peg as us a hunter-gatherer society. With the aid of dozens of volunteers, OpenElections in the last year has:

  1. Gathered metadata about the availability of election results from nearly every state (we still have a few left!).
  2. Created a system to store the metadata and a JSON API for using the data in our other systems.
  3. Held two metadata sprints where volunteers entered hundreds of records.
  4. Begun gathering election result data files for a set of initial states.
  5. Released an API for federal election results.
  6. Talked to a lot of people who care about election results.
  7. Tried to keep you informed of what we’ve been up to.

We’ve discovered communities that share our vision for elections, who are helping to make election data easier to access, developing new data standards, and crafting standardized data formats for the next generation of voting technology. We’re fortunate that the people and institutions that care about elections are a generous lot. Their collective efforts and shared wisdom (often directly on a phone call or over email) has helped us immensely, and we expect to continue collaborating with these generous folks in 2014.

In the new year we’ll be working hard to roll out standardized results that are easy to use, whether you’re a reporter, graphics designer, civic hacker, or just a curious citizen interested in playing with some election data (human-friendly data is the original goal of OpenElections, of course!)

We’re currently building out our data processing pipeline starting with Maryland, but have also started working on other states, including Florida, Ohio and West Virginia. We’re expecting to dive into many more states early in 2014, and we can use your help scraping files, loading results, and ensuring data quality (keep an eye out for a guide on Contributing Code). And of course, you don’t need to be a nerd to contribute; ping us at openelections@gmail.com and we’ll find something that suits your interests and talents from our holiday wishlist 🙂

Last — but certainly not least — we need to end the year with a huge thanks to the volunteers who spent hours gathering election metadata, writing code, and wrestling data files out of government agencies across the country. You are the ones making the OpenElections vision a reality, and we appreciate every minute you’ve spent in the last year. And for those folks who haven’t yet joined our volunteer ranks, yes, there will be more swag in 2014 😉

Happy New Year everyone!

Derek, Sara, Serdar