[R] analyzing results from Tuesday's US elections

Bert Gunter bgunter@4567 @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Sun Nov 8 16:32:50 CET 2020

Unless I misunderstand, clearly such a repository already exists -- the NY
Times, AP, CNN, etc. etc. already have interactive web pages that did
this!. It doesn't seem to make any difference to Trump conspiracy theorists
and partisans, though.

Also, as usual, a web search (on "central repository of US election
results") brought up what seemed like many relevant hits of historical
data. You may wish to contact one of these sources for further ino.

Bert Gunter

"The trouble with having an open mind is that people keep coming along and
sticking things into it."
-- Opus (aka Berkeley Breathed in his "Bloom County" comic strip )

On Sun, Nov 8, 2020 at 12:25 AM Spencer Graves <
spencer.graves using effectivedefense.org> wrote:

> On 2020-11-07 23:39, Abby Spurdle wrote:
> >> What can you tell me about plans to analyze data from this year's
> >> general election, especially to detect possible fraud?
> >
> > I was wondering if there's any R packages with out-of-the-box
> > functions for this sort of thing.
> > Can you please let us know, if you find any.
> >
> >> I might be able to help with such an effort.  I have NOT done
> >> much with election data, but I have developed tools for data analysis,
> >> including web scraping, and included them in R packages available on the
> >> Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN) and GitHub.[1]
> >
> > Do you have a URL for detailed election results?
> > Or even better, a nice R-friendly CSV file...
> >
> > I recognize that the results aren't complete.
> > And that such a file may need to be updated later.
> > But that doesn't necessarily prevent modelling now.
>           I asked, because I don't know of any such.  With the
> increasingly
> vicious, widespread and systematic attacks on the integrity of elections
> in the US, I think it would be good to have a central database of
> election results with tools regularly scraping websites of local and
> state election authorities.  Whenever new data were posted, the software
> would update the central repository and send emails to anyone
> interested.  That could simplify data acquisition, because historical
> data could already be available there.  And it would be one standard
> format for the entire US and maybe the world.
>           This could be extremely valuable in exposing electoral fraud,
> thereby
> reducing its magnitude and effectiveness.  This is a global problem, but
> it seems to have gotten dramatically worse in the US in recent years.[2]
>           I'd like to join -- or organize -- a team of people working on
> this.
> If we can create the database and data analysis tools in a package like
> Ecfun on CRAN, I think we can interest college profs, especially those
> teaching statistics to political science students, who would love to
> involve their students in something like this.  They could access data
> real time in classes, analyze it using standard tools that we could
> develop, and involve their students in discussing what it means and what
> it doesn't.  They could discuss Bayesian sequential updating and quality
> control concepts using data that are real and relevant to the lives of
> their students.  It could help get students excited about both
> statistics and elections.
>           Such a project may already exist.  I know there are projects at
> some
> major universities that sound like they might support this.  However
> with the limited time I've invested in this so far, I didn't find any
> that seemed to provide easy access to such data and an easy way to join
> such a project.  Ballotpedia has such data but don't want help in
> analyzing it and asked for a few hundred dollars for data for one
> election cycle in Missouri, which is what I requested.  I can get that
> for free from the web site of the Missouri Secretary of State.
>           I thought I might next ask the Carter Center about this.
> However,
> but I'm totally consumed with other priorities right now.  I don't plan
> to do anything on this in the short term -- unless I can find
> collaborators.
>           If such a central database doesn't exist -- and maybe even if it
> does
> -- I thought it might be good to make all the data available in a
> standard format in Wikidata, which is a project of the Wikimedia
> Foundation, which is also the parent organization of Wikipedia.  Then I
> could help create software and documentation on how to scrape data from
> the web sites of different election organizations that have it and
> automatically update Wikidata while also sending emails to people who
> express interest in those election results.  Then we could create
> software for analyzing such data and make that available, e.g., on
> Wikiversity, which is another project of the Wikimedia Foundation --
> with the R code in Ecfun or some other CRAN package.
>           If we start now, I think we could have something mediocre in
> time for
> various local elections that occur next year with improvements for the
> 2022 US Congressional elections and something even better for the 2024
> US presidential elections.
>           Thanks for asking.
>           Spencer Graves
> [1]
> https://github.com/sbgraves237
> [2]
> https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Electoral_integrity_in_the_United_States
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