Information specific to the WA state VRDB
In the WA VRDB, the City column may give the postal office associated with that voter; but if it’s an unincorporated precinct, they may not be able to actually vote in that city’s election. In other words, “City=Renton” gives 79k people, but nearly 25k are unincorporated and can’t actually vote.
In addition, individuals may provide the wrong value for City, which could be wrong.
Fortunately, the VRDB has a separate table, DistrictLookup, that specifies exactly the precincts for a given (DistrictType,DistrictName) pair.
So (DistrictType=”City/Town” and DistrictName=”City of Renton”) would give you the actual precincts for Renton City Council, which you can then join and compare with the VRDB to get the list of voters … which is around 50k voters. However, that query is much cumbersome to provide!
When using the query portal, Use the “DistrictTypeCity” field to select just voters in a city.
(DistrictTypeCity == XXX) corresponds to a join with the DistrictLookup table and (DistrictType== “City/Town” and DistrictName ==XXX)
There are similar new fields for supporting other DistrictTypes, such as School, Fire, Port, Other, etc.
When queried, this gives 79k voters as a result, which includes unincorporated areas that can’t vote in a Renton City Council race, but are still categorized under Renton for mailing purposes.
This query will give just the Renton voters, and results in a list of 53k voters.
This query shows you the voters in the Renton mailing area, but can’t vote in a Renton City Council race (which results in a list of roughly 26k voters).
- Some voters may match multiple “DistrictType=City/Town”. For example, Tacoma is split into multiple districts, so a voter in Tacoma district 2 would match “CITY OF TACOMA” and “CITY TAC-2”.
- Some cities put their districts in “DistrictType=Other” instead of City/Town. It’s arbitrary.
- DistrictNames in the VRDB are not normalized. This isn’t really an issue for cities, but can be an issue for other districts. Each county can report it their own way. Sometimes that just means a capitalization difference, but here the different ways that CD 5 shows up:
- Congressional District 5
- CONG 05
- Congressional District – 05
- CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT – 005
- CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT – 5
- CONGRESSIONAL 5