Sunday, June 23, 2019

Protect yourself: 'Computer Security for the Average Politico'

"The myth of cyberspace as a digital utopia has long been put to rest. Governments are increasingly developing smarter ways of asserting their national authority in cyberspace in an effort to control the flow, organization, and ownership of information."  "The Hacked World Order" Adam Segal, 2015 from
Prompted by some struggles of Facebook friend, I have drawn up a quick guide to Computer Security for the Average Politico. The digital world is one big hackfest now. If you are storing or manipulating political data or just blogging on Facebook you are probably subject to attacks, ex-filtration of private data and maybe harassment. Computer security is almost impossible to achieve. We live in a world where American cities like Baltimore are held cyber hostage potentially by exploits stolen from the NSA. Assume there are armies of paid information warriors targeting and collecting information on activists just like you and implementing large scale strategies to discourage, distract, weaken your efforts. Fight back some. Cyber bullies (spies or not) are cowards. I will assume Windows 10 for the discussion below, but my suggestions should be generic and OS independent enough.

Use the advice in this post at your own risk. Remember to back up critical data to a separate device first. Remember the old Unix maxim: "There are two kinds of computer uses: Those who have lost data and those will." For Windows 10, please see information on the 'administrative'  or 'elevated' use of cmd.exe and Powershell. This post  may need  expansion and more explanation. To be updated. - 06/23/2019 RMF

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Predicting 2019 outcomes

Blue: GE 2018 Senate Results (Cantwell - Hutchison)
Red: Latent class predictors (Democrats - Republicans) from 04/30/2019 voterdb.
Trend lines are lowess smoothing for Whatcom County precincts across the top axis.
 Click to enlarge all of the charts in this post.

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Whatcom County Electorate Summer 2019: Age and Transiting Voters

This is the start of a series on The Whatcom County Electorate for Summer 2019. Updates are likely. -RMF 

The team at WA VRDB assures me they will have a May VRDB soon! Until then, we will look at some changes in Whatcom County's 4.30.2019 VRDB for status active voters. Approximately 3,489 new voters registered (year(Registrationdate) == 2019) in Whatcom County for the first four months of this year:

1:     251  #January,
2:     673  #February
3:    1003 #March
4:     562  #Aprial

In the first chart below, you can see the distribution of those new voters by age group per Precinct Decade (e.g. '10' = Precincts 101  through 109). For my age groups I used:
  • Millennial=Age < 36 [born after 1983]
  • GenX=between(Age,36,60,inclusive) [born  between 1959 and 1983] 
  • Boomer=between(Age,61,86,inclusive) [born between 1934 and 1958 
  • PostWar=Age > 86 [born  on or before 1933 but almost all after WWI end]
I have rearranged American generations for the last 100 years a little differently than others. PostWar refers to post WWI. (Only 36 voters out of 145K active voters in WM county's  voter database are born before 1918. They are all between 101 and 107 years old now).  In redefining these generations I have de-emphasized WWII and the 30's Depression as seminal generational events for our voter database. Enough wars and economic hardships have occurred since 1945 to minimize the effect that the that 'depression' and 'war babies' have on our electoral system.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Violin Plots: Mirrored Density Plots of Voter Participation

Below are 'Violin Plots' (e.g. 'mirrored density plots') [12] of voter participation by birth year for WA in the top 5 and second top 5 counties.  These plots have at a least a visual similarity to 'population pyramids' seen here and here. But these are density plots.[3, 4] These charts portray the density of the population proportions of each; not the explicit volumes against each other. See list of all counties at far bottom of this post.

The top row in the two charts below are an age profile for those who have a voting record from 2012 or after (e.g. 'LastVoted'). The bottom rows are those voters without any voting history.  The purple horizontal lines are ages for 30, 45, 60, 75, 90.  I notice the 'pinch' at age 45 (birth year 1974) in the top row and the heavy 'shoulders' for age 60 (birth year 1959) plus some. In the bottom row, the 'hats of no previous voting participation' begin a strong drop off at age 45 (birth year 1974) which becomes stronger at age 30 (birth year 1989). Whatcom County appears to have the largest band of 30 and under (birth year 1989 and less) participation bulge. King County appears to have the smallest band of 60 (birth year 1959) plus participation.  Click on the charts to enlarge.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

2018 Reconciliation Reports

GE 2018 Reconciliation data from an Excel spreadsheet at  For more information about WA GE 2018 turnout see this link. Click to enlarge the chart.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Some information on WA voter data in anticipation of 2019

This post gives examples of data publicly available for candidates look to understand voter registration and participation. Below the break are some interesting tables from a SOS WA site that has a useful (historical) voter participation excel spreadsheet. There is also a very detailed 2018 Election Report which has excellent graphs and tables describing the effect the new "stampless ballot" on returns for 2018 primary and general elections. As always, there is very detailed data available for every recent election. Your local county or WA State can provide you with voter registration data or historical matchbacks and results for local elections. Some of that this data may require data analyst skills to parse.   There are essentially three different types of elections below:

  • Presidential year (every four years)
  • Congressional without Presidential (e.g. 'midterm') (every fourth even year)
  • Local Election Year only (every other year)

2019 will be a local election year only. I have appended the GE 2018 turnout percentage to each column below to give some idea how much increased recent turnout has become.  There are two different types of turnout here:

  • Total Ballots / Total Voters
  • Total Ballots / Total Population

King (pop 2.2M ) and Whatcom (pop 225K) counties usually have very high turnout and registration numbers despite having very different sized populations. Only populations over 18 can vote. A special Census tabulation gives 'CVAP' (Citizen Voting Age Population) information about voting populations per county by demographic groups. In Appendices 1 & 2 below current citizen, CVAP, registration statistics are displayed.  This data is probably best viewed on a wide screen.

Friday, May 17, 2019

2018 Net Migration

Below are some charts I created with the help of Kyle Walker's excellent tidycensus library and also a few other important libraries like tidyverse and sf. For more information, please see:


For me, the effect of this map is to show vast swaths of the midwest and northeast draining into states like Florida, Georgia,Texas, Washington, Oregon and to a lesser degree Colorado, North Dakota, Nevada and Arizona. Washington and Georgia Counties are shown as separate maps. If I had to guess, I would say much of the country is fed up with polar freezes, drought, fire and hurricanes. Apparently, they have decided to trade all of that for continual drizzle and rain in Portland and Seattle. Or maybe there are only three choices now for really smart youth seeking high incomes: San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle. Some example data and 2015:2018 growth Census derived tables for King and Whatcom Counties are far below.   Click to enlarge the maps.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The last 30 Years of US Motor Vehicle Collision Fatalities: Deaths, Fatal/VMT( per 100M), VMT(per 100M)

Click to enlarge this complicated and noisy chart . Deaths (Red) are measured nominally. Fatality rate (Blue) is Fatalities/100M VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled). Vehicle Miles Traveled (Purple) is measured as 100M VMT.  To equate scales, fatalities are measured as numbered per the horizontal axis. VMT is effectively measured in trillions as 'y * 100M VMT',  while fatality/VMT is effectively measured in deaths per trillion  as 'y  / 100M VMT'.  These deaths include pedestrian and bicyclist deaths linked to moteor vehicle trauma. Source:

Monday, April 15, 2019

Introduction: A series on Collision Data for Whatcom County and WA State

Please click to enlarge the charts below:
ABOVE: Screenshot for Governor's Highway Safety Association: US. Pedestrian Fatalities by Year

ABOVE: Screenshot from the FINAL-2018-PSAC-Annual-Report-.pdf for WA State

Click to enlarge the charts above. Below are four links to data posts from collision data for Whatcom County. In researching this topic I have surmised from the WSP Collision database the number of injuries and fatalities in Whatcom County over my 27 month study period (01/01/2017 - 04/01/2019). Because of the long data tables, these articles will not readable on a cell phone screen:

WSP Collision Data for WM County 01/01/2017 - 04/01/2019: A look at "Yield" Citations in Collisions

From the WSP Collision Data for Whatcom County, I am doing my best to summarize the 968 unique 'Citation Charges' from the 7,174 Whatcom County Collisions I am tracking for the 27 month period covering 01/01/2017 - 04/01/2019. "Yield" citations play a big part in collisions in Whatcom. It may be useful to spell out in detail for drivers obligations under the law. Below I parse the top 50 “Yield” violations and then the top 15 "Yield" violations for "intersection", "driveway" ,"ped" ,"stop", "left" and (at bottom) a regex for '4' which gives us the RCW reference used by WSP officer on the scene. Rdata.table code is included for reference.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

WSP Collision Data for WM County 01/01/2017 - 04/01/2019: Initial text analysis of MV_Drvr_CitationCharge

From the WSP Collision Data for Whatcom County, I am doing my best to summarize the 968 unique 'Citation Charges' from the 7,174 Whatcom County Collisions I am tracking for the 27 month period covering 01/01/2017 - 04/01/2019 . I have developed some text mining techniques to summarize the 'top citations' and I am interested if this information gives me insight into Whatcom County driver behavior in collisions. If I had to summarize my findings to date, I would comment that the top cause of collisions or dangerous driver behavior can be attributed to:

Friday, April 5, 2019

WSP Collision Data for WM County 01/01/2017 - 04/01/2019

These are stats from the WSP Collision Analysis Tool. The query interface at generates an amazing amount of information on collisions in the state of WA. Some of the address and locations needs some consolidation for cross table output. This data is for WM County from 01/01/2017 - 04/01/2019. I leave the rdata.table commands in place for some of these queries. The WSP Collision Analysis Tool generates a ton of good data. Some in simple and also a more advanced option. It's not perfect and requites some munging. It's just better data than any other motor vehicle trauma and collision interface I have seen. I like this data because I get the real feel when working with it of an officer filling out data on site. I think for this reason, the advanced data interface could be curated and aggregated for productive machine learning routines. This is under construction as of 4/5/2019 and I will be particularly working on this post.  These tables are best not viewed on a cell phone.

             InjurySeverity    N
1:      No Injury Collision 4964
2:   Minor Injury Collision 1681
3: Unknown Injury Collision  385
4: Serious Injury Collision  103
5:          Fatal Collision   41

Sunday, March 24, 2019

COB Reported Collision Data: 2017, 2018, Q1 2019

Some approximate locations for City of Bellingham, WA reported collisions for the years 2017, 2018, and Q1 2019 (3/23/2019 to date). Not all accidents are shown. Click to enlarge charts.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

School Bonds and Levies for February Special Election 2019

School Bonds

A first look at the Bond and Levy Results for School Districts across WA shows good results. Important bonds in Bethel, Yelm, Kennewick, Renton, Ferndale and Yakima made the 60% 'super majority'. Some of these bond results are multi-county with split school districts. For more information check the individual county results at .

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Weather Forecasting

We are in a snow/rain winter pattern. Some forecast links:

Bellingham Forecast (Check Forecast Discussion)

U.S. Graphical Forecast (mouse over 'Loop')

PAC NW Jet Stream Forecast

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Last Weeked for the School District Elections

The complicated geometry of the three school districts requesting your support this election. Note how school districts snug borders, trail rivers, and sometimes split precincts (!!) If you have any questions whether or not you should receive a ballot, check and/or call Whatcom County Elections. Click to enlarge the map.

Please Vote. Ballots were mailed 1/23/2019 for the Ferndale SD and Nooksack Valley SD bonds as well as the Concrete SD Levy.  You should have your  ballot by now. If not, contact Whatcom County Elections. Seven drop boxes are open for this election, but like the last two Whatcom County elections, this is a 'no stamp needed' election. Fill out your ballot early, set it on your mailbox and then check to make sure your ballot has been received and is 'ready for tabulation'.  If your vote is challenged in any way, please contact Whatcom County Elections.  

In Whatcom County (as in all of WA), there is an 18 day voting period. Votes are 'tabulated' (e.g. counted) starting on election day (February 12th) for this all school funding election.  The county estimates there are ~28K voters involved in this election. ~22K of these voters are in the Ferndale SD.  This is the third attempt at passage for the Ferndale School District. If you have any questions, please call or otherwise contact Whatcom County Elections. For more information on the Ferndale School District  and Bond please see my previous posts:
 Please Vote. More information (under construction) below the break.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

More thoughts on School Bonds...

Ruminations on voting or not voting for school bonds are below. It is a big, neglected topic. I am just scratching the surface. - RMF

The activists that have been trying (dutifully) to pass a bond for the Ferndale School District are holding public meetings this month around Ferndale:
The problems Ferndale activists are having passing their school bond are now endemic to small cities and county areas in WA.  To see this, type "Bonds WA failing" into the Google search bar. Ferndale has failed to pass this bond (primarily designed to rebuild the High School) in 2014 and GE 2018.  They are trying again this month.   Reading through the committee documents the local activists, parents, advocates have produced is more than anguishing. Type "ferndale school district bond" into google or just read through this document here.  I spent the week looking at some of these problems . I think the problem set for these WA communities trying to pass school bonds in rural and small city areas has common components:

(1) Many times the  60% 'supermajority' provides an insurmountable obstacle to the passage of school bonds (not school levys) in WA State.Type "Bond WA 60% supermajority" into the Google search bar to see more on this.

(2) Anti-tax advocates have been dealt greater ammunition with (recent) accelerating property appraisals. This clearly leverages the anti-tax fears of older, retired populations, especially those on fixed incomes.

(3) There is clearly an urban Democrat vs. rural Republican split on this. The local Republican party almost never explicitly takes an anti school bond position. But many conservative and many older voters adopt anti-tax positions anyway.

(4) The supermajority bond approval rules mean that without some Republican support, school bonds will not pass in may rural school districts.

(5) For any community, the a school bond issue should be an easy pass, but school infrastructure and bond interest costs are so expensive that the residents of many smaller school districts are right to be wary of increases in property taxes.

More information, tables, charts and analysis below the break.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

School District Bond and Levy Elections

The Ferndale School District is outlined in white above . FSD has 24 full precincts and 4 partial precincts shown in shaded multi-color. FSD schools and other Whatcom County surrounding schools are labeled in white print. Click to enlarge the chart.
Post Under Construction. Please see for current information, registration deadlines, and voting periods:

"Deadline for in-person, mail-in & online registrations or address changes is January 14th"
"Ballots Mailed: January 23, 2019"
"This Special Election includes Ferndale School District 502, Nooksack Valley School District 506, and Concrete School District No. 11. "
More analysis after the break. You will need wide screen...

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Presidential Election Turnout Chart:1920:2016

An  historical Presidential Election Turnout chart. The data is  from Willem M. van der Wal Elections (R) package. Plot functions for lines: blue = lowess(), red = smooth(), purple = smooth.spline(). Click to enlarge the chart.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Last Year and Last Election Voted Percentages

From left to right: Last Year Voted Percentages from the 2018 WA VRDB for 2018, 2016, and NULL (e.g. Never Voted)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Age and Turnout in WA GE 2018


For Whatcom County and the state as a whole, age bins under 40 (with few exceptions) continue to  chose to let late GenX, Boomers and Postwar generations decide political realities. However, Whatcom County shows much greater youth participation than WA State as a whole. Furthermore, migratory patterns of youth voters suggest that housing stability or "a stable residence address" my be a strong determinant in youth voting patterns.
Whatcom County had 77% turnout of registered voters which was 5% points higher than the state average. Whatcom County also had higher turnout for Millennial and GenX age bins. Left axis is votes, bottom axis represents age bins, top and right axis represents turnout percentage per age bin as delineated by the blue line. For all of WA State, see charts below the break. Click to enlarge the charts.