Sunday, July 21, 2019

Checking Precincts after the WAVOTE upgrade

If you are an auditor or election official wondering how your precincts changed between 12/31/2018 and 07/17/2019, I could have some code for you and also a potentially helpful spreadsheet accurate as of July 17, 2019.  (email me) Merging all the precincts from two different VRDBs is a bit of trick. For reference, I have included the 2018 Senate Race results for each precinct. A snapshot of all this merged data looks like this:

Friday, July 19, 2019


Ballots should be in the mail for Whatcom County as of 07/17/2019. This year, same day registration legislation for the August 6th primary kicks in. Still, if you did not get your ballot or if you moved and forgot to change your address at , make sure to do so before July 29th.There is a continuing rollout of the new 'votewa' upgrade. At this point, call the Whatcom County Elections office if you have any problems receiving your ballot at . REMEMBER TO VOTE!!:
Here are more links: BTV Mayoral and Electoral Forum:
Candidate Mayoral Links for Bellingham:
Whatcom County Executive Links:
Whatcom County Election Department Links:
WA SOS Websites:

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Men out-registering Women in WA State?

Here is a first look at some point to point registration data after yesterday's VRDB drop; the first in 2 mos and 17 days.  The VRDB had net increase from 12/31/2018 to 07/17/2019 of 58,563. That increase looked liked this:

r3all[StatusCode == "A",.N]
[1] 4373910
s3all[StatusCode == "A",.N]
[1] 4432473
s3all[StatusCode == "A",.N] - r3all[StatusCode == "A",.N]
[1] 58563

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Voters Coming and Going; Why an updated voter list is so important.

Above Julie Wise, election director for Seattle, scares all the suits and most us election geeks by forcibly describing the current lack of resiliency  and preparedness of  WA State new $9.5M Voter upgrade during a recent Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee meeting.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Your servile young life in the rapidly gentrifying state...

'Average price of a Bellingham home sold in the past three months was $516,669, the first time that the average home price has topped $500,000. "It's unsustainable," Muljat said Thursday. "This trend cannot continue." '
Quote from the Bellinghan Herald article by Robert Mittendorf at

Perhaps the question youth really should be asking local politicians as we approach a full and contentious primary this week is: "How the heck am I ever going to own a home or afford a family in this economy?"  A number of new data points this week suggest a future of long term servitude to low wages in the face of rapidly and dangerously escalating housing prices. Home prices in Bellingham, up 14.9% since April 2017, just can't seem to slow down. Bellingham housing prices can only be described as hot.  And your wages, despite recent claims to the contrary, are nothing special!  

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The 2019 WA Primary Vote is upon us...

Ready or not, the 2019 Primary Vote is upon us in WA! Ballots will be mailed July 17th in Whatcom County!  Your Secretary of State Kim Wyman and her election team have been working hard to bring us an updated registration and elections infrastructure. You can find all the information pertinent to this election at :

Due to the upgrade, there will many updates to county voter databases in early July.   Make sure your voter registration address is up to date for the primary! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call your local county auditor. Here are your Whatcom County registration deadlines for the 2019 Primary Election:

Sunday, June 30, 2019

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: