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Under review

Elections 2020 - what would your media organization want?

Joe Hansen (Product manager) 12 months ago in BLOX CMS updated 7 months ago 12

We are considering building a new "simple" elections platform for the 2020 election cycle and beyond. This would be more streamlined and easy to use than the old Election Stats, and would include AP election data for state and national elections, leaving you to focus on local. You'd still need to update your local race results as often as you want to make them available for your visitors, but the state and national would be automatic.

I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts on what you would like to see. Is this something your site could use?

What functionality would you want in such a product?

How are you currently handling election results?

It'd be great to see something like this, but I'd prefer seeing it as source agnostic.   We pull in election results programatically and by hand depending on jurisdiction and don't use AP results at all...but I'd love to see a flexible front end we could just plug json, xml or csv into.



Under review

Would having an API to add/edit candidates and races be enough? Then you could build your own data ingesters and update the blox assets with the new information programmatically.

This definitely sounds like something we'd use. Right now we are just building HTML tables and anything that makes that easier on the newsroom would be welcome.

It would be great to have a product that allows us to have an individual widget for each race that could be placed on multiple pages.  That way, we can build a page for each county.  Or, a page for just statewide races.   Or even a page just for the referendums.  Kinda mix and match the races to create some custom displays.

Would be great to include the ability to update the entire race (not just vote counts) programatically...   That's very helpful when, an hour after the polls close, you find out it's "John Smyth" and not "John Smith."

Also, lots of CSS selectors for custom styling of the widgets.

We would definitely be interested. Can you offer any examples of the previous Elections deal that you mentioned. We weren't with TownNews then.

Thanks,

Thomas

Thomas, there aren't any examples any more, but basically it was a fairly complicated and difficult to set up system that was based on sports stats. The goal of this product would be something simple and very focused, as well as something that can be updated programmatically if you have a local dev.

I actually made a thing for this while I worked at BH Media (which I no longer work for).

Not sure if they use it now, but it originally just used the AP API, and then I added support for pulling info from the Virginia State Board of Elections and then Oklahoma's XML files.

When I left, there was a PHP library that had a common-denominator object model for elections (which would spit out the same structure no matter the source) with the ability to add custom election sources for importing.

The JSON was stored on the /app directories, then handled by blocks that used JS and Handlebars to render HTML.

We would need it broken down by Race, Candidate, and Precinct.  We also need a way to denote National, State, County, and smaller/other groupings.  We show each precinct's vote count, then total by Township, city, County, and State, depending on how wide-reaching the Race is.  For School-related votes, or Ordinances, they tend to stop at the city or County level.  If you want to see how ours lays out, we Frame-Include our old system on out elections page at https://cadillacnews.com/elections/ .  This is not behind a paywall, so should be available to anyone wanting to see how we did things.  


For example:

Race: President

Type: National Election

Candidates:

  Fred Flintstone (D)

  Barney Rubble (R)

  George Jetson (L)

Breakdowns:

  Precinct, County, State each showing totals for that breakdown based on Precinct, Township/City, Counties (that we cover), and State.

We are seriously looking for the solution you describe. Would love to see a system where we can take care of our local races by importing Excel or CSV files we get from our Secretary of State. I can share file examples with you for development purposes.  Please keep us updated on this development, as we are already beginning to work on how we are going to report elections.

We have a cadillac local version, designed by Josh Renaud here. It Pulls in results from county jurisdictions and statewide from Sec. of State. It's missing the national numbers however.
Among the functionality on the end... showing winners when results are over... showing % of precincts that are in ... calculating winners on races that are 5/7 or 2/3 majority ... and as mentioned earlier ... ability to embed individual race widgets on home page. 

BTW, having any kind of AP coverage on national races ... especially battle for president and battle for congress would be appreciated. We would really like the dynamic map updating the presidential race state by state on election night. AP had provided in past but that is pretty expensive.

+1

We weren't able to build out a full elections platform in time for the primaries, but we were able to come up with a package from AP that could be useful. Check out the details here and contact your sales rep if you are interested. https://townnews.com/news_room/new-turnkey-primary-and-general-election-coverage-from-townnews-and/article_84d2d7d4-58b7-11ea-bdf4-5f0fe67ee08d.html