Crowdsourcing Georgian Election Data For Accountability
On 9-10 October, JumpStart is organizing an event at Frontline Club to digitize all the precinct ballot protocols for the 2016 Parliamentary elections to make Georgia’s election data accessible and useful for everyone.
During elections, most people watch on TV how candidates do in each district, and the CEC provides this information with regular updates after the polling stations close. To do this, the CEC adds up all the values in each precinct in each district. However, the CEC does not make the information from each precinct public until 20 days after the elections take place, well after the outcome has been decided.
The main challenge for monitoring organizations is that, to perform the types of checks that highlight problematic areas during an election, the district information isn’t helpful. The precinct information, however, is.
For example, if you want to know whether or not in a precinct there are more votes than ballots, which should definitely not happen, you need precinct information, not district. There are several other checks that organizations perform during an election that indicate areas that need investigation and detect where there is a high risk of fraudulent activity and they all rely on precinct information, not district.
As a civic tech organization, JumpStart often tries to find solutions to these sorts of transparency shortcomings and we often use technology to do it. This year, JumpStart is building a web-based tool that enables anyone to help us take the precinct information, which is uploaded to the CEC’s website in the form of scanned documents, and digitize it so that organizations can then analyze it in time to have an impact - before the outcome of the elections has been decided. With the support of the National Democratic Institute and volunteers in Georgia and all over the world, JumpStart is spearheading a massive effort to digitize all the precinct information within 48 hours after polling stations close.
JumpStart welcomes any and all support for this effort, including YOUR time. By volunteering your time to digitize even a small number of precinct ballot protocols, you will help us achieve our goal. The data will be available to everyone for download throughout the night in spreadsheet format and will regularly feed into the Georgian Election Data Portal (http://elections.jumpstart.ge/) to make it easy for people to explore, visually, what the data means.
To help us ensure your vote counts, help us count.
If you want to help us, sign up using our registration form: bit.ly/Icounted