Easton, Massachusetts streamlines its work by using Excel

This story was featured in our ELECTricity newsletter in March 2015. Sign up to receive more success stories from election offices across the country. And how is your election office using technology to run excellent elections? Tell us about it at hello@techandciviclife.org -- we'd love to share your story!


The Town of Easton is located 30 minutes from Boston and 45 minutes from Cape Cod. Easton is the proud hometown of Jim Craig, the goaltender who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to an Olympic gold medal, also known as the Miracle on Ice.

Easton has over 15,500 registered voters who are served by three full-time staff, 30 poll workers, and three volunteer registrars. On Election Day, residents in the town’s six precincts all vote in just one location at the high school gymnasium.

Easton's consolidated polling place at high school gymnasium. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Gillis.

Easton's consolidated polling place at high school gymnasium. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Gillis.

Jeremy Gillis is the Easton Town Clerk. In addition to enjoying hockey, he’s a huge fan of Excel. Jeremy and his team use spreadsheets to help manage the entire election process in Easton. He creates one Excel file for each election and then adds individual tabs for detailed information. The team collects data on everything election related, including: 

  • Candidate information
  • Voting lists
  • Absentee voters
  • Election costs
  • Hourly voter turnout
  • Poll worker payroll
  • Election results

Track election trends with Excel

The Town Clerk's office also records election expenses in Excel in order to track the exact costs of an election. Using their election budget spreadsheets, they are later able to justify funding requests at the Easton town meetings.

View a quick example on using the SUM function to total a poll worker budget.

By identifying historical election data trends in a customizable format like Excel, Jeremy can make informed decisions about resources for an upcoming election.

“Excel can take some of the gut feelings that all election administrators experience and turn them into facts,” Jeremy explains.

Excel streamlines election data

Meaningful election data can add value to the local budget process, boost community engagement, and contribute to historical archives. By publishing data in a spreadsheet that people and machines can find, sort, and share, the public can better understand and engage in the election process.

In one Election Night spreadsheet, Jeremy uses 258 Excel formulas to calculate results for three ballots, 22 races, 4 questions, and 38 candidates!

A printed Excel spreadsheet with sample ballots. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Gillis.

A printed Excel spreadsheet with sample ballots. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Gillis.

For information about election data in the Town of Easton, contact Jeremy at jgillis@easton.ma.us. You can also follow Jeremy on Twitter

Interested in learning more about Excel? Check out our quick lessons on Excel -- including AVERAGE, CONCATENATE, and PivotTables -- in ELECTricity’s Tech Tutorials.


How are you making elections better in your community? We want to feature your jurisdiction. Email us at hello@techandciviclife.org