21 December 2009 ~ 21 Comments

Open data provides access to Afghanistan’s election results

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) has opened up the results from Afghanistan’s summer election with its Afghanistan election data browser. This is a great example of the possibilities that exist once data is made accessible and open. NDI partnered with the design firm Development Seed to create the browser that provides a great visualization of the data that can be perused online.

Development Seed describes the project:

This is a massive liberalization of election data that previously had been baked into PDFs. The tool allows users to browse the raw vote count from the recent election on a national view and quickly drill down to a provincial, district, and even polling center view – showing the number of votes all the way down to the ballot box. Users can run custom queries to see the number of votes per voting station and the percentage for a single candidate, and see the results on custom maps of Afghanistan that have additional data overlays like ethnic and security data. All of these voting trends are then graphed down to the polling center level.

This data browser was used internally throughout the fall by NDI’s team and its partners on the ground in Kabul and Washington, DC to visualize voting irregularities from Afghanistan’s presidential election in August. While the election is long over, the site now takes on new public value as preparation begins in Afghanistan for next year’s provincial council (Wolesi Jirga) elections.

One of the keys of this project was that NDI took the 2,500 pages of election data that were released in September by the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan in PDF format and put them into a format that could be analyzed. Data liberalization enables transparent analysis. You can read more about the project at http://ndi.org or developmentseed.org You can find the browser at http://afghanistanelectiondata.org.

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