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Elections Results Viewer

Alameda County, CA
Program Year: 2017

Last November’s Presidential Election was monumental for many people. For the Registrar of Voters – and hard-core election watchers across the County – it was a moment of triumph in a long-term effort to make real-time, precinct-by-precinct election results available on the Registrar’s website. The task seemed simple. Create a map showing each of Alameda County’s roughly 1,000 election precincts and make it interactive – so that casual campaign watchers and election junkies alike can exercise their Election Night angst by clicking on any neighborhood and viewing how it is voting on any issue. Converting this concept into reality, though, proved more than a little challenging. The County spent several years working with outside vendors focused on using geographic information system (GIS) technology to tackle the task of bringing the interactive election map to reality. Several iterations of the interactive map were tested over several elections. Central to the challenge was our finding just the right amount of computer server space to devote to the interactive map. The seasonal nature of the election business provided an added wrinkle: providing expansive server space – and paying for it – seemed a great idea on those one or two nights a year when people by the thousands slap and shake their computers in the frantic quest for the latest information. The other 360-plus nights a year, however, carrying vast server space for a map sitting idle was “like paying for a super computer to do your word processing.” While there are many sites already available to view results of larger elections, the Alameda County Election Results Viewer focuses on delivering information for local races, and allows residents to drill down into results, precinct by precinct, aided by a map. The code was published on GitHub so that other counties can re-use it to achieve significant cost savings.

Ms. Myrna Lopez
Intergovernmental Affairs and Civic Engagement