Election Tech Tuesday
This Election Data Dispatch series explores emerging issues in elections technology and their relationship to elections, the future of voting, and civic engagement in America.
VIP Supports April 1 Primary in District of Columbia
The District of Columbia’s April 1 primary will be the first that the Voting Information Project, or VIP, supports in 2014. VIP is a partnership between The Pew Charitable Trusts and Google that makes official election information available where people look for it most—online. VIP provides answers to three main questions: “Where do I vote?” “What’s on my ballot?” and “How do I navigate the election process?” In 2012, VIP’s official information was accessed nationwide more than 25 million times.
The district will also use VIP’s ElectionDesk, an open-source dashboard designed to help election officials monitor social media activity on Election Day and respond in real time to emerging issues, such as long lines at the polls or questions about poll hours. Cliff Tatum, executive director of the District of Columbia Board of Elections, is enthusiastic about the tools VIP is providing to elections officials. “Our priorities are to educate our voters, provide access to the polls and accurate election results, and we believe VIP and ElectionDesk will assist with attaining our goals,” Tatum said.
VIP began working with the district’s board of elections last fall to publish its data in the official format, an open-source standard. Within months, the district had built a comprehensive set of test data that included polling locations, candidate and ballot information, and geopolitical boundaries. The data passed all validation tests for integrity, accuracy, and completeness, and the city is now primed to make its elections data even more accessible to voters through online applications such as the Google Voter Information Tool.
In the coming year, VIP will continue developing its nationwide infrastructure, with the goal of eventually supporting all elections in the United States. This will allow even more states to significantly improve the quality of their election data and provide accurate, timely information to voters for every election at no additional cost to taxpayers.