Early stats on WA Aug2020 primary

Votes in Washington State’s primary earlier this week are still being counted, but here are some results so far [as of 8/6/2020]. Data here is publicly available from the Secretary of State.

Turnout was around 37%, which is up from 34% in 2016.   

There was a competitive field of GOP candidates running against a 2-term incumbent Democrat. Here were the results of the top vote getters. The top 2 (Inslee and Culp) will go on to the general.

Aug2020_GovResults

Here’s is a further breakdown of GOP candidates per county. Circle size is weighted per county population.

VS_p20recap__gov_R_piePop18_co_804_all

Here’s the combined Democrat (Blue) vs. Combined Republican (Red).

VS_p20recap__gov_RD_piePop18_co_804_all

 

 

Measuring a Candidate’s Independence

Who are the most and least “partisan” candidates for WA statewide office?

Often, these sorts of conclusions are argued subjectively in opinion articles based on a candidate’s issue-positions and their endorsements.  However, we wanted to ignore the opinions and go straight to the data to draw the conclusions.  We used only official public data and all results here are repeatable and could be independently confirmed by following the process we detail below.

Continue reading “Measuring a Candidate’s Independence”

Case Study: Handling the MN GOP Convention

This article is a technical case-study for how Voter-Science’s services handled a high-traffic event: the Minnesota GOP State Convention on May 30th.  The MNGOP was clear that it was absolutely critical for the site to keep up with the surge in traffic and stay fully responsive during their event. The event was successful. There were surge periods hitting over 1000 requests/second to our servers, and the servers averaged responses in under 100ms.

Here were the engineering steps we took to provide the MNGOP that guarantee…

Continue reading “Case Study: Handling the MN GOP Convention”

Sampling Voter’s Opinions During COVID-19

How do voters feel about how Pres. Trump and Gov. Inslee have responded to Coronavirus? What do voters think about the closure of schools through the end of the year?

During the past month, Voter Science conducted two robodial surveys of registered voters across Washington state to poll opinions on questions around the COVID crisis and the response of national and state leaders. A total of 2,643 voters responded to a poll taken March 29th and 1,801 voters responded to our poll taken April 13th. We asked a set of tracking questions in each poll to gauge approval of Pres. Donald Trump’s and Gov. Jay Inslee’s handling of the Coronavirus, and to find out what voters predictions were for how long life might be stuck in this “new normal.”
In addition to those tracking questions, in our April 13th poll we asked for reactions on two topical issues: how well are schools meeting the needs of newly homebound students and are voters happy about the newly enacted and highly controversial K-12 sex ed law. In both cases, we found a population looking for better leadership.
For additional insights from this research, or information on how we can help you use research to know voters better, please email us at info@Voter-Science.com.

Voter Science Collaborates with WSRP to Keep Party Business Moving During COVID-19

One month ago, the Washington State Republican Party realized that holding in-person legislative district caucus meetings and county conventions would not be possible. Yet, the election of delegates still needed to happen.

Voter Science engineers went to work quickly and in 7 days turned around a secure and “ready-for-primetime” tool to facilitate virtual balloting and delegate selection. The King County GOP was also instrumental in making sure our technology was run though its paces, and ran at least 10 mock elections in record time to run to iron out wrinkles before live elections began two weeks ago with counties reporting great success. More counties are scheduled to conduct their own delegate elections over the next few weeks.

The collaboration between Voter Science and the WSRP on the use of political technology amid the COVID crisis made news in The Wall Street Journal:

As Washington state reels from the coronavirus pandemic, its local Republican Party has a backup plan in case it isn’t possible for hundreds of people to gather in June to pick delegates to the Republican National Convention two months later.

The state’s “virtual” convention plan, which it is already employing for smaller, local meetings, could be a model for the two national political parties if the pandemic lingers and disrupts their massive gatherings scheduled for August.…

Washington Republican Party Chairman Caleb Heimlich said he realized by mid-March that hundreds of people couldn’t safely gather for local meetings to elect delegates for the state gathering, even though it had been delayed from mid-May to late June. He enlisted political tech startup Voter Science to quickly build a platform for voting, paired with Zoom videoconferencing for participants to interact…

Voter Science is proud to pitch in to keep the work of dedicated Republican activists going during this difficult election cycle. We’re committed to proving that we don’t need to make a choice between being safe and keeping our Republic functioning.

3 Things Voter-Science is doing to help during COVID

Here are some specific actions VS is taking to help during the COVID crisis.

[1] New tool for Remote Party Elections and Delegate Selections

Continuing to have a functioning political system through any crisis is of deep concern to us at Voter Science. Voter Science is working hand in hand with the state GOP and county parties to solve the challenge of facilitating caucus voting and election of party leadership at a time when in-person meetings are not possible.

While there are solid remote conferencing tools like Zoom, UberConference, GotoMeeting, and FreeConferenceCall, there aren’t affordable remote election tools that handle the unique challenges for remote balloting such as complex bylaws with multiples rounds of voting and district weighting.

VS developed an online ballot system, VS QuickVote that can be used by county and state conventions and similar organizations for doing remote elections. Quick Vote extends our previous tool for building recommendation pages (ie, SlateBuilder) with the ability to vote on those candidates in primary and general elections.

 

[2] Help grassroots influence impactful COVID decisions

Our government is making bold COVID decisions which are impacting our daily lives. People can use our free petition builder platform to organize on issues and build lists for grassroots development on issues and not just party affiliation.

For example, in Washington state there is controversy around Gov. Inslee’s decision NOT to include private sector construction workers as essential businesses thereby ordering them to stay at home, while many tax-funded  government and union construction workers are still working.   A free petition was started to raise awareness of the issue:  “Construction Work Is Essential”  which got over 9,000 signatures in a few days in just one legislative district (nearly 8% of the district population). This greatly helps identify the people impacted by this decision and help grassroots and candidates organize a response.

Any candidate’s first task should be testing the waters with an online petition. If there’s an issue impacting you or your community and you need a voice, start your own petition at https://PetitionBuilder.org

 

[3] Need for more affordable solutions, especially for local elections

As the country faces a global pandemic and unprecedented unemployment, political donations naturally decline. Political campaigns need to find a way to make do on a smaller budget. VS has a large set of free and affordable offerings for campaign and voter management. Contact us or visit  https://Start.Voter-Science.com  to get started. We also share the source for our assets at https://github.com/voter-science, and even expose free APIs to integrate with our mobile canvassing.

Voter Science was founded because we saw that there has always been a major tech gap in local races, many of which are nonpartisan but in which progressive or center-left candidates benefit from a rich ecosystem of tech resources and data. Voters will be watching how their local officials work in the community to communicate needs and impacts of COVID – some officials will fail the challenge.

Our hope is that by providing affordable, scalable tools to smaller campaigns that aren’t partisan, we can improve the caliber of local leadership to address challenges like this that we have to be prepared to handle in our new future normal.

A candidate’s first task: creating an online petition

As a new candidate, a great first task is to create an free online petition at https://PetitionBuilder.org and share it out.

An online petition lets you pick a topic and people can sign up with their name, zip code and email address. They can also leave comments and upvote on other comments – which is empowering to the signers.

An online petition is an opportunity to test the waters in March, not at the August primary.  Specifically:

  1. Pick a meaningful topic – Avoid frustrated partisan rhetoric that only appeals to the base. Choose something that resonate with their community and motivates voters.
  2. Get community feedback – If nobody signs your petition, it gives you a pulse that perhaps the topic is not broadly important and you should focus elsewhere. Signers can also leave comments and upvote on a petition, so that’s another signal you can use.
  3. Exercise your influencer network –To really get traction, you’re going to have to do more than just share it once on Facebook. Roll up your sleeves and go to community meetings, meet with other people, and be seen as a leader on the topic in the community. This is hard work, but all essential skills you will need on the campaign to get votes.

The bottom line is if you can’t even get 100 signatures on a petition, you certainly won’t get 10,000 votes in August!  For many, running an online petition is a great wakeup call – but early enough that they can do something about it.

 

Now what?

As you get your signatures, you can monitor the statistics page to see things like view rates, signup rates, share rates. You can even see a heat map of where the signups are coming from.

petition-stats

Some practical next steps after you get signatures:

  • Use screen shots from the stats pages to make followup posts promoting the petition.
  • Update your petition’s description with new information.
  • Use the stats to identify the biggest influences
  • Contact petition signers with followup messages and action items. You can import the signers into your own mail list or contact them via PetitionBuilder.
  • Match your signers back to the voter-database to determine other attributes such as legislative district, party score, voting history, or other demographics. Voter-Science can help with this.