Lesson 8: Understanding Election Data
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This lesson is the third lesson of Level 2 of the Data Proficiency Program. You're now working towards your Level 2 - Blue Badge.
There were no statewide elections held in Indiana in 2021, but rest assured, those involved in our election processes are hard at work in collecting and analyzing data to be ready for the next cycle.
Election data is a lot more than just the final vote tallies. In the video for lesson 8, you’ll learn about the history of polling and polling data, plus how political polls monitor public opinion over time. Polls are conducted by independent research groups and news organizations or by firms hired by campaigns themselves.
In the extra reading for Lesson 8, check out the article How Political Campaigns Use Your Data from Reuters just prior to the November 2020 election. The article explains concepts you may or may not be familiar with like the U.S. “voter file”, layering data, predictive models and data-informed campaigns. The article describes how “campaigns use data to inform decisions and create voter files about everything from where to send mailers, which places candidates should visit and where to buy or target TV ads (Reuters).”
Indiana Voter Portal
At IndianaVoters.IN.gov, you can get information on how to register to vote, who’s on the ballot, voting hours at your polling location and more. The site, hosted by the Indiana Secretary of State, also offers election results, including historical data from past elections.
Ballotpedia (https://ballotpedia.org/) provides a vast amount of information about politics at all levels of government. The site is essentially a digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections at the federal, state, local, and territorial levels of government.
The video for lesson 8 (Election Data: Study Hall Data Literacy #7: ASU + Crash Course) comes from the Study Hall: Data Literacy series released in September 2020 by Arizona State University as part of the popular Crash Course learning channel on YouTube.