Sunday, June 17, 2018

General data advice for candidates

Below is some information and links that might help you with public campaign data. Remember that working with data requires previous experience. Some data can be analyzed with spreadsheets, but statewide data will require database or data analytics software functionality.

      Past County Election Results in multiple formats at your local auditor/ election office or from the WA SoS. Results of all historical state contests can be found here: To use the results data from this, you need to write routines or use functionality that "transpose data from long to wide" in your statistical software of choice.

Precinct shape files and whatever maps you need can usually be found through your county auditor/election office or from the Office of Financial Management.  OFM GIS files relating to elections can be found here: For example, you can download Google Earth Pro and import this shape file: to see all Legislative Districts.

The WA State Redistricting Commission has lots of interesting data based on the 2012 redistricting efforts:

The current WA Voterdb can be found at . The monthly drop of the VRDB is ~ 4.6M  (active + inactive) voters * 42 fieds for a total of  ~200M records. This means the VRDB needs to reduced to your Race Jurisidiction scope by database or numeric software like Postrgres or R on appropriate hardware. The alternative is to pick up a voter database from you local county for some nominal fee. State SoS contact for more on VRDB data: .  You can order a CD of any past WA state voterdb without charge  for any given historical (past) month and year from the state. They will send you multiple months for free. 

Race Jurisdiction data can be exported all candidates for all WA races in 2018 from here: . You can alter that URL by Year and County.

    Public Disclosure Commission of WA has candidate funding data at The PDC now links with the WA data portal. For example: supports the Socrata Open Data API for various data platforms. For example, Socrata Open Data can be accessed through a CRAN approved package in R as well as Excel, Tableau, OData, etc.

Census CVAP data is here .

You can also order matchbacks for some nominal price  (usually $3/ matchback) any final (certified) matchback from most counties.. So you could order final matchbacks for GE 2010, '12, '14, '16 for ($3 * 4 = $12). If you don't know what matchbacks are, now is a good time to ask your local election desk. Such data as a single matchback for Whatcom County Voter list is small enough (138K active voters) to manipulate on many recent laptops with a spreadsheet software like Open Office or Microsoft Excel. An 8 GB RAM laptop should be plenty for small WA rural County matchbacks and voting lists.

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