The Ballot Information Project - FAQs
What is the Ballot Information Project?
The Ballot Information Project (BIP) is our effort to collect nationwide datasets of candidates and referenda that will appear on the ballot for a given election. It has been used since 2012 to power election-time tools from companies like Google and Facebook, and has provided a baseline dataset for civic engagement organizations and research projects.
What is the scope of the BIP dataset?
Our dataset has information about all statewide referenda and all federal, state, and county candidates nationwide. We make every effort to collect information about all races that will be on the ballot, and our dataset includes municipal, school board, judicial races, and special district information for over 90% of the country.
What information about candidates is available from BIP?
In addition to basic information such as candidates’ names, the offices they are running for, and their parties, BIP makes efforts to collect links to candidates’ campaign websites, Facebook profiles, Youtube accounts, as well as their Twitter handles.
What elections is this dataset available for?
BIP data is currently being collected for 2018 November general election. Previous versions of BIP data are available for the 2012, 2014, and 2016, and some 2017 November general elections.
What if I need candidate data for an election that isn’t listed?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with information about what you need and we’ll see what we can do.
How is BIP data tied to political geography?
BIP uses Open Civic Data Identifiers to tie candidates and contests to the electoral districts where they will appear on the ballot. This allows BIP to provide only ballot information relevant to a voter’s address and helps us make sure that our data can be easily integrated with other civic datasets.
What existing standards is BIP data compatible with?
As of 2016, BIP data is available in XML format compliant with the Voting Information Project specification.
What is the best way to access BIP data?
During election time, the best way to freely access BIP data tied to address is via the Google Voting Information Tool.
If you have a project where the API doesn’t meet your needs, you may be able to license our data directly. 501(c)3 non-profits, journalists, and startups with annual revenue under $2m are eligible to license most data for free. All other organizations are subject to a licensing fee. CTCL maintains a commitment to nonpartisanship in all our work. As such, our datasets are made available to organizations of any tax status or political affiliation who agree to our pricing and usage guidelines.
For information about obtaining raw data in flatfile or XML formats, contact email@example.com.
I have a question that isn’t listed here.
For answers to any other questions, access to documentation and data samples, or deeply-held opinions about early 2000’s indie rock please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.