My Fair Election – first general results

November 12, 2012by Karen Suhaka

Filed under: Eye Candy, Gov and Political Process

So the dust has settled.  We know the election results.  But how did the election itself go?  Tracking and quantifying good and bad experiences around the country was the goal of our project.  With a great team and a little luck, we were able to gather over 1000 reviews of polling places on election day, gathering data from all but two states (MT, MS).  This information is available for analysis, please send an email to info at my fair election dot com to request the data set.

Of course we didn’t gather enough data to be statistically significant, but we did get a lot of interesting comments.  There will be more on that later. None the less, I’ve taken a quick look to draw some initial conclusions (to be taken with a grain of salt).

The distribution of the data looks a little like the electoral map, with maybe a little extra hometown Colorado and Massachusetts thrown in.


Heat Map of Review Count

The top cities reporting, and their total review counts, were:

Washington DC 62
Brooklyn NY 61
New York NY 51
Chicago IL 29
Arlington VA 19
San Francisco CA 16

We asked people to rate their experience 1 to 5 stars, and overall people were pretty satisfied:

Heat map of star ratings

and a look at total total count of reviews across the country:

Breakdown of Star Ratings

So fully 4 out of 5 people were at least OK with their experience.  Of course the biggest complaint was long lines, and wait times did vary quite a bit, both over the span of the day, and across the country:

Heat Map of Wait Times

Wait and Star ratings over the day

Our participation fell off later in the day, so I’m not sure the later averages are valid. But the spike in the morning hours was very real, and no surprise.

Interestingly, the wait time did not necessarily correlate to the star rating.  What seemed to matter most to people’s satisfaction was whether they felt the polling place was operating efficiently.  If the line was moving smoothly, but was long because there was good turnout, people were ok with that.  If lines were long because the lines were poorly arranged or managed, there weren’t enough machines or the machines were broken, or other avoidable delays, well, that drove people crazy.  That was also the number one reason people gave for not being able to vote after going to their polling places (about 1.5% people reported that they attempted to, but weren’t ultimately able to).

Star Rating versus VWait Time

Once I get a chance to go all the way through all the reviews, I’ll breakdown the nature of the complaints in one and two star ratings.  I’ll also highlight some of the happiest, funniest, and most terrifying reviews.  In the meantime, here’s a word cloud of all of the reviews.

Word Cloud of My Fair Election reviews

Thanks again to everyone who helped, especially David, Curtis, Archon, and Hollie.  I hope you’re as proud as I am of how it turned out.

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