Q: Is the data free for anyone to use, even for commercial purposes? A: Yes, it is. All of our results data is provided under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License; we ask that you credit OpenElections when using it. Software used to scrape, parse and format the data may be covered by other software licenses, mainly the MIT License.
Q: Will you be providing live, real-time election results?
A: No, we won’t. Live election results require an infrastructure and staffing that we don’t have. Besides, there are plenty of historical election results that aren’t easily available.
Q: What kinds of elections will you include in your results?
A: At the outset, we’ll have federal races (president, Senate and House of Representatives) and major statewide offices such as Governor and Attorney General. How much more we cover depends on the availability of the data and our contributors (including you!).
Q: What level of jurisdiction will results cover?
A: Statewide, or district-wide for House races, plus county-level results is our initial goal. We’d like to work our way down to precinct-level results where available.
Q: How far back will results go?
A: Our initial aim is to get election results from 2000 onwards, and then see how far back we can go from there.
Q: What formats can I get results in?
A: We’ll start with CSV. We want to make it easy enough for non-programmers as well as offer something for developers.
Q: How can I help?
A: We’re glad you asked. We’re planning to model our efforts after the OpenStates Project by the Sunlight Foundation, in which volunteers “adopt” states. Contributors to OpenElections will be able to record the availability of a state’s results, gather official results and submit them, or even write code that turns source data into an easy-to-use, consistent format.
Q: Who is paying for all of this?
A: OpenElections is generously supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge.