As a follow up from our January Ballot Data Convening, CTCL has created a series of resources that we hope will help you connect with tools and data about candidates and referenda. These resources include:
A summary of the findings of the January Ballot Data Convening.
An online ballot data resource listing organizations’ plans for ballot data collection and use in the 2016 election cycle.
A set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about how ballot information is collected from local elections officials
We hope that these resources will be helpful for individuals and organizations who care about what is on voters' ballots. We plan on updating these resources throughout the year, so check back often for the latest updates. If you've got an additional resource you'd like to share, or if you're an organization who would like to be added, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
One theme from the convening was the need to expand the collaboration conversation beyond the traditional civic data world. Specifically, journalists and academics were mentioned as two sets of people that could both contribute to and benefit from existing civic data infrastructure.
Since the convening, CTCL has worked to reach out to both fields. In March, CTCL attended the 2016 Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference in Denver, CO. At the conference devoted to data journalism, CTCL's Director of Civic Data Donny Bridges presented with DataMade's Eric van Zanten on sane ways of collecting candidate data. Discussion topics included what data is available through existing APIs, opportunities for local journalists to contribute and enhance data about candidates, and the importance of standards to data interoperability.
Last week, CTCL was also in attendance for a workshop hosted by Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research. The discussion focused on their Center for Local Elections in American Politics, and in particular the data available in their excellent local elections database. The group of academic researchers, non-profits, and foundations in attendance learned about some of the research this data has already made possible, brainstormed new research questions the dataset could be used to investigate and talked through ways to continue to improve the database itself.
We look forward to continuing to work on improving our civic data infrastructure through collaboration and coordination - be that with civic technology organizations, journalists, academics, or anyone else who cares about using data to encourage civic engagement.