2018 Ballot Information Project Data Now Available

It’s springtime (even if it might not feel like it where you are quite yet), and that means longer days, the return of baseball, and--of course--ballot data from CTCL’s Civic Data team! Texas and Illinois have already had their primaries, which means that the Ballot Information Project (BIP) is officially underway for the 2018 November General Election. Federal and statewide candidate data for those two states are already ready for your consumption, and we’re just getting started!

BIP, in addition to being an incredibly fun acronym to pronounce, is CTCL’s effort to collect, standardize, and put online the answer to the most commonly asked question in American democracy: “What’s on my ballot?” BIP collects nationwide candidate and contest information down to the hyperlocal level (mosquito control boards, anyone?) and matches that data to political geography via Open Civic Data Identifiers. We also collect ballot measures, office descriptions, and information on how to learn more about or contact candidates. You can learn more about what BIP covers on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Since 2012, BIP data has been accessed over 200 million times. Thanks to partnerships with organizations like Google and Facebook, in 2016 BIP had the largest reach of any non-profit voter information project, ever. By putting civic answers that in some cases do not exist online in the places people are already looking for information, we help make sure that everyone has an opportunity to cast informed votes all the way down the ballot.  We look forward to continuing this success with our partners in 2018!

But our partnerships aren’t just limited to large technology organizations. Often, the most impactful use of our data comes from smaller, more local organizations and projects--and we’d love for yours to be one of them! We welcome and support partners of all scales. In the past this has included organizations like First Vote NC, who uses BIP data to create realistic election simulations for high school students around election time. We are always on the lookout for new and exciting projects to support, and would love to hear from you!

If you are a developer or a member of an organization that wants to use BIP data to build a civic engagement tool, please reach out to data@techandciviclife.org. Our data is free to use for 501(c)(3) nonprofits, small companies, and other educational users. If you don’t qualify for free use, we can work with your organization to put together a data licensing contract that suits both your needs and your budget.

Getting early access to our feeds allows you to build product on live data before it’s published in places like the Google Civic Information API. When the data does go live in the API, it will be in the same structure you’ve worked with all year, allowing you to seamlessly integrate the API’s more powerful functionality if you so choose.

On CTCL’s Civic Data team, we do the legwork of collecting and standardizing this basic information so that civic engagement organizations can spend more time focusing on the parts of the work that matter to them. Let us help you save countless hours making phone calls to election officials--and save the election officials from those calls, too!

PS: We do more than just data! If you need any extra assistance with the implementation or strategic development of your tools, we also offer a range of consulting services - email data@techandciviclife.org for more information!