Updates – Illinois State Board of Elections
The omnibus election bill passed late last year requires that after election day each election authority must report the number of uncounted ballots to the State Board of Elections and the SBE must make this data available on their website. You may remember that the 2014 Illinois State Treasurer’s race was too close to call after all of the ballots were counted on election night and the outcome of that race remained in doubt for some time as the vote by mail, early vote and same day registration votes had to be counted before the official winner was determined. Keeping track of the developments in that ballot counting process was difficult because in some cases it was difficult to get information about how many ballots still needed to be counted by each election authority. Hopefully this process will be easier to follow if a similar situation arises in the future as more data will be publicly available.
Since that law went into effect a special election was held to fill the vacancy in the 18th congressional district. In accordance with the new law each election authority sent the State Board of Elections the data about uncounted ballots and the SBE displayed this data on their website, as required. To navigate to this page on the Illinois State Board of Elections website you can go:
Home –> Reporters (top nav bar) –> Uncounted Ballots (center column)
Updates – Illinois Election Data
Over the last few months I have updated this website’s various sections with data from both the 2014 general election as well as the 2015 Chicago municipal elections. Additionally I had long been planning to make changes to almost every part of this site and I finally put the work in to do that. Here is a rundown of all the new changes along with a detailed explanation for each.
- New Look and Feel: the visual layout and design of this website used to look like a 4 year old drew it in crayon. I have made wholesale changes and incorporated a modified version of the Bootstrap framework and it now looks more like a 9 year old drew it in washable marker, which I’m told is an improvement.
- 2014 Election Cycle Budgets: data now available in the budgets section for all of the 2014 election cycle statewide candidates as well as the targeted congressional races.
- 2014 Election Cycle Statewide Race Maps: maps now available in the maps section for all of the statewide candidates from the 2014 general election. For example here is the map of Bruce Rauner’s victory by county.
- 2015 Chicago Municipal Election Maps (general and runoff): maps now available in the maps section for all of the Chicago municipal candidates from the 2015 general and runoff elections. For example here is the map of Rahm Emanuel’s victory by ward in the runoff.
- New Budgets Back End: the budgets section is a tremendous tool for campaign managers (or designated budget staffers) that can display the past monthly campaign fundraising and spending for so many statewide and congressional races. All of this data used to be static, it was copied and pasted from database work done offsite. Now I have completely rebuilt this section using onsite data hosted in a backend database and the data displayed is derived from calculations run on that database. This work has two advantages, 1) fewer chances for copy/paste errors meaning the displayed data is more likely to be accurate and 2) for those users wishing to study the data more closely you can now quickly see all of the receipts and all of the expenditures in a table that is easy to filter and has a one-touch download button so you can easily download all of the individual transactions and perform whatever further analysis you would like on the underlying data.
- Reduced Reliance on Google: in order to get this site up and running when it was first launched I used a lot of Google tools to keep from having to do a lot of initial design work, for example I often embedded/displayed data in a Google Spreadsheet instead of displaying data in a formatted HTML table. It didn’t look good then and later when Google made some changes to how they display embedded Google docs it looked even worse. I have since gone back and taken the time to fully develop each section and reduced the reliance on various Google tools and overall most areas are just better now. The lone key exception is the Maps section, all of the vote total maps are overlaid on Google Maps which is still by far my preferred method.