Redistricting App: How you can help get partisan data

I know it’s been almost 6 months since my last post. Time flies when you’re…working a lot; ok, I was having some fun, too.

A couple of people have sent in partisan data, which I’ve uploaded. North Carolina has been there since early June (thanks Peter!), and New Mexico is there today (thanks Neil!). And I fixed the VTD data for Indiana. (Thanks to all of you who reported that bug.)

Also, I’m ready to accept other partisan data from volunteers! Here’s how.

If you are able to track down 2008 presidential data that somewhat matches the 2000 voting districts (or census block groups) for a state, you can put that data in a .CSV file (comma separated values) and email it to me. The trick is that voting districts often change and many have between 2000 and 2008. Some states don’t have voting districts published by the Census Bureau, so that’s a problem. If you want to do more work, you can try to map the 2008 data back through any changes from the 2000 voting districts.

For CA, NY and TX, JeffMd created new shapes to (roughly) match 2008 voting districts. In general, I would not recommend this.

Anyway, check out the web page describing what to do and we can get more partisan data in the app so we can have more fun until the new 2010 census data comes out.

BTW, I will attempt to make some improvements to the app and will get 2010 census data in there after it comes out.


21 thoughts on “Redistricting App: How you can help get partisan data”

  1. Somehow it’s just not showing correctly on the images.

    Here is SoCal on redistricting. I’ve checked both “Use Test Data” and “Partisan by Color” – it doesn’t work.


    This problem seems just limited to California’s partisan data. I can get demographic data:


    And with other states I can also get partisan data. Texas, which is just slightly less complicated than California, works. So does New York:


    Any suggestions on how to fix this problem?

  2. I’d be willing to fix the bugs with Maryland. Maryland has a lot of votes unaccounted for, and a lot of mismatched precincts. It seems the state mostly created new precincts from the boundaries of old ones, so it’s just a matter of summing the data where necessary (in addition to moving the ones that are in the wrong place).

    Some of it kinda bothers me (the McCain precincts in the middle of the majority-black part of Baltimore, that random 84% Obama precinct in Anne Arundel that should be in the Ft. Meade area and not in the middle of the state, the fact that half of Cecil County seems to be missing, the fact that Ocean city is on Assateague Island and the black precincts in Worcester county are mismatched – I could go on…

    I don’t know much about other states, so would you like me to help with fixing Maryland?

  3. Sometimes this has happened to me too. Generally, I have found that physically deleting the data from your computer and then re-downloading it from scratch works.

  4. I have tried it myself and it does work. Try deleting the data (from the obfuscated directory for CA) as gs suggested.

  5. This is where I got the Maryland data a while back. It’s a starting point for any of you who want to help. Each state’s data is in its own form. Some will take more work than others to get them into a form I can use.


  6. for the central counties, but not anything west of Washington County or any of the Eastern Shore. If you want to focus on that, I get the central stuff to Dave as well?

  7. Glad to see that people are working on fixing things….

    As someone who spent way more time looking at this than I ought to have…everything in Western Maryland passes the eyeball test.  

    Baltimore City seems to be the most messed up jurisdiction.

    There are some Prince George’s precincts that have missing polling data.

    That weird 84% Obama Anne Arundel precinct in the middle of a bunch of 50/50ish spots I think belongs in East Laurel but I wasn’t able to figure out what goes there instead.  

  8. Check out this site if you haven’t done so already. The precincts have been changed a lot:

    Even though nothing matches exactly, I think we can estimate. As long as every vote counts.

    So Jeff, you tacked the multitude of missing precincts in Baltimore County, the missing Anne Arundel precincts, and all the misplaced Baltimore City precincts? Wow, you did just about all the work. I’m willing to do whatever’s left. What counties do you want me to cover? Did you do all of Southern MD? Did you do Harford? Washington? Cecil? Just give me a list so that I don’t duplicate anything.

    Also, how are we going to work it out when the shapefile itself is wrong? In worcester county, Assateague Island is listed as having votes even though the island is uninhabited. I think those votes belong in Ocean City (which is listed as uninhabited), but I’ll have to check it out to make sure, since Worcester County’s precincts seem pretty randomized and not true to reality at all. There might be a few other counties that need fixed shapefiles like that as well.

    Also, I’d like to change some of the shapes. Cut the rivers into pieces, get rid of some of those weird small dots that shouldn’t exist. Is there any way to do that?

    Also, is there any chance we’d be able to add Ehrlich-O’Malley numbers to the program? That would be awesome.

  9. On Windows 7 it’s something like this: C:\Users\Dave\AppData\LocalLow\Microsoft\Silverlight\is\wbekndbi.yt2\ixfnmjak.xsr\1\s\mbcuc5y11hatden4rfah5rjgwlpl3hes2ogfqs2jqmkdx103loaaadaa\f\DavesRedistrictingFiles\California

    Of course, the user will be you and the funky directories will be something else. But look in that directory and delete the .csv and .dsh files. Those are the shapes (.dsh) and data (.csv) that were downloaded by the app from the server for California. Don’t delete any .xml files, because those would be what you saved.

    On Win XP and Mac it’s a little different. The Help page explains it in more detail.

    Good luck.

  10. can’t you just rightclick on the redistricting app, then go to silverlight settings, go to the application storage tab, and click delete all? That’s how I usually clear my memory (which I always have to because the data saving feature never works for me).

  11. It would also be good to be able to combine precincts and merge their demographic data. I’m getting MD together, and it seems that the reason why some precincts don’t show any political data is because those precincts were abolished and merged into others (Talbot County had 4 abolished, Caroline had 1).

  12. Anne Arundel is a royal biznatch, as they precinct by commissioner districts, which of course change every 10 years… (other counties’ at least precinct by stable county subdivisions).

    I’ve done: Frederick, Montgomery, Howard, PG, Charles, AA, BaltCo, Balt City, and Harford.

  13. well, I’ve now done Cecil, Kent, QA, Talbot, and Worcester. It’s not taking me too long. If you give me an email I’ll send it to you when I’m done.

    I was hoping dgb would be reading this, but I guess I’ll just email him. I do want to know if we can change the shapefile, because a bunch of precincts have been abolished and should be combined for accuracy.

  14. Yes, you can do that. It does delete ALL of the application storage (for all states), including any files you saved (.drf.xml files).

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