Building the People’s Voting System

VoteStream Demo


VoteStream was funded by a Knight Foundation prototype grant.
The Open Source Election Technology team presented the prototype at Matter on March 31, 2014

Project Description

VoteStream is part of a larger digital public works project to develop critical democracy infrastructure.

VoteStream is a software service that local election officials can use to provide near real-time election data access and reporting. The service increases transparency in elections by advancing open data standards for elections data.

VoteStream provides a digital scoreboard that can be used any jurisdiction in the United States.

The public can review election results information—and search, filter, or download results — in a map-based interface. It also includes metadata not currently available about elections — for example, a breakdown of ballots by type and demographics. Through a data feed and APIs, third-party developers are able to make use of the same data.

In the VoteStream project we examined how data standards can make elections data more widely available. We also looked at the the applications and services that make this possible.

As we developed the Alpha version of VoteStream, we learned several things that we think will benefit other developers:

  • You have to think about the whole data ecology
  • Connectivity creates growth and scale
  • Standards are key to connectivity
  • Stakeholder participation is key to adoption of standards
  • The devil is in the details of connectors that implement the standards

We also learned some things important to progressing this work:

  • We spent half our time on connectors or APIs alone.
  • We proved that commercial voting systems can cooperate with public information services using open data standards
  • We discovered a pentup demand for this kind of service; and
  • We now know this system is massively scalable from a local precinct to a nationwide composite view of an election.

The VoteStream Alpha version represents 6 months of work.

There’s still more to do to complete, test, and prepare VoteStream for widespread use to make election data open data.