In Light of Upcoming Local Elections, Avencia Releases Free Web-based Tool to Search, Investigate and Map Philly’s Election Results Through Time
PHILADELPHIA – May 15, 2009 – Avencia announces the public release of its “ Philadelphia Election Results, 1992-2008” web-based application (proceed anonymously if you do not wish to register). The application runs on Avencia’s Kaleidocade Indicators Framework (KIF), which enables users to visualize, interpret, and map large datasets. In the case of the “Philadelphia Election Results, 1992-2008” application, the dataset includes over 4 million records and holds the results of elections held in Philadelphia for all state and national offices from 1992 to 2008, along with the results of the 2007 elections for city offices, both at the precinct and the ward levels.
Increasingly, transparency and open government policies are becoming mandates at all levels of government. But agencies or organizations involved in elections-related projects such as election-day incident reporting, campaign contributions mapping or canvassing and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaigns face the same issue: providing access to voter registration information, historical election results, and the public records request process can be arduous and cumbersome.
With this new application of Avencia’s Kaleidocade technology, users can both generate simple reports based on an address and assemble fine-tuned collections of indicators by selecting particular candidates and geographies. Once an indicator collection is complete, KIF provides many options for interpreting the data. Visualizing election results on a map enables users to detect spatial patterns in candidate performance. The data can also be examined in a table (including trendlines of candidate performance over time), viewed as statistical summaries like distribution histograms, or compared through ranked lists of results.
This application serves as an example of how the Kaleidocade Indicators Framework software can be used by elections commissions to share data with the public. Offering historical election data through a web application also has the advantage of making public records requests a self-serve process that can reduce the burden on elections commissions' personnel. And while historical data is important, a tool like KIF can also be adapted to near real-time election results reporting. Rather than releasing text summaries of election results after the fact, city elections officials could enter precinct results into KIF as they are reported, making the web interface a valuable breaking-news and public information tool.
The “Philadelphia Election Results, 1992-2008” application is the latest addition to Avencia’s elections and open government work. The firm has consulted on several high-profile elections and voter anlaysis projects with a variety of organizations with a focus on state and local elections. Cicero, Avencia's legislative district boundary and elected official web API, matches constituent locations with their local, state, and national representatives by tapping into an extensive database of voting district maps and information about politicians, legislative bodies, and election events. In 2006 Avencia released a study of gerrymandering in the United States, showing that Philadelphia topped in gerrymandering practices amongst large municipal governments. Furthermore, to help grassroots campaigns hit the ground running, Avencia has also developed tools to quickly generate hundreds of canvassing maps that pinpoint likely voters and supervoters in each precinct. Their DecisionTree geographic planning and prioritization software has also been used to enable campaigns to prioritize canvassing and GOTV efforts based on a selection of over 30 weighted electoral indicators including voting history, demographic data, and civic participation.