Unveiling Argentina´s elections system failures with impact.

Producing evidence data through Open data journalism and civic collaboration .

 

Elections transparency impact after comparing digitized primary elections telegrams with manually completed forms using technology and citizen participation in Argentina

In 2015, presidential elections were held in Argentina with massive protests and complaints in some provinces as regards of fraud during primary elections. National and some provinces electoral systems were under suspicious.

We decided to take action in order to analyze relevant public documents, looking to send a message to Government that we, the people,  were monitoring to avoid irregularities or fraud during final election and that this could be done using technology for accountability.

A government site has published more than 95.000 telegrams that authorities from each polling station sent to the postal office containing the amount of votes that each party and each candidate won, how many election monitors were present, etc. It’s not the complete overview concerning documents of the electoral process, but it is the first and original source, a handwritten form, from which all electoral results are processed.

We scraped the electoral results official site and built a dataset with the digitized data of every voting poll so we could built the complete dataset from scratch that would help us double check, use data analysis to detect the outliers from districts we should focus on and prioritize our citizen control efforts.  Seguir leyendo

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Users taking control: Argentina´s 2015 Elections interactive cross platforms data visualizations

During 2015, Argentina had national and local elections including executive and legislative branches. It was a record for us citizens to vote in 6 opportunities the same year, for example in the City of Buenos Aires. In the national level, we had three elections: the Primaries, the General and the Ballotage elections in which president Macri won.

In terms of data: more than 32.000.000 possible voters distributed in 95.000 polling stations from 14.000 schools in all the territory of  Argentina, multiplied by 3 national elections.

Knowing that 2015 was going to be a strong election’s year in Argentina at La Nación we started early planning a strategy to tackle a long known problem that kept us from being able to show our readers the election results at a very fine-grained level. The geolocation of all the polling stations in Argentina.

Don’t miss: How we geolocated > 13.000 polling stations? Hint: A little help from Machine Learning, Knight Mozilla OpenNews fellows and  6 members of the team working heavily on validation process for almost 6 months. Take a look at the tools. 

Thanks to this effort we had our exclusive geolocalized polling votation national map.

For this unique opportunity we could focus in designing creative pieces that will serve  print, web and mobile from scratch reusing the same graphics pieces as well as considering real time data as the first input source. We developed an interactive map comparing the three elections on the national level, another comparing two elections from the City of Buenos Aires and the real time Congress/Senate visualization that was built on the fly as vote results were reported from the National Elections Office. 

What makes your project innovative? 

The opportunity to use technology to transfer control to the users and let them see, analyze and compare in detail. In this case our interactive data visualization served also for citizen control as we could reach and show the detail of every polling station including the original form manually completed and signed by the desk authorities.

The mix of real time data that was positioned in Lanacion.com home page the same afternoon as results were partially released by the National Electoral Office and a strategy to design only one piece using SVGs to reuse the same that night for the print edition were another innovations.

Using the drawing plugin for Leaflet, Leaflet.draw we could let the reader draw over the map, and with that drawing, through a geospatial query, the user can get the results from each intersecting polling station, aggregate them, and display the selected results.

Crossing two and three datasets in the more atomized level also was new as we could compare by irregular polygons in a map or by structured districts, the evolution of voters in the same polling station.  This is just the beginning of what can be done in the future if we are proactive to prevent fraud and let people control in real time at such a detailed level.

I. How was the election in YOUR voting booth?

Click the image above to enlarge features translations. Or click here for the map live.

Result for the runoff presidential election. The graphic shows the minimum possible detail for the election result. Every single poll station, as well as every telegram with the result of every voting booth are detailed. The main goal  is to personalize the results and engage people to find their own voting booth result.

Seguir leyendo

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Argentina 2015 presidential elections Geolocating polling stations

Introduction

Knowing that 2015 was going to be a strong election’s year in Argentina at La Nación we started early planning a strategy to tackle a long known problem that kept us from being able to show our readers the election results at a very fine-grained level. The geolocation of all the polling stations in Argentina.

From previous experiences in 2013 we knew that putting in an enormous effort we were able to geolocate the polling stations of Buenos Aires City and province (approximately 5300 polling stations)

The overall number we were facing for Argentina was over 13000 polling stations and we could not tell in advance if they were going to be the same from 2013.

So we decided that we wanted to try a new approach to reduce the problem using some machine learning technique. We knew from the start that the validation part of the process will still be tedious and gigantic but reusing and customizing some of the tools developed for the manual approach for 2013 we thought is was doable and worth giving a try.

 

Sources

To be able to do a jump start we started working on 2013 data. We did not want to wait until June/July for the government to release the final list of polling stations for the 2015 presidential elections.

On one hand we had the inventory of the 13,000 polling stations given by the government for 2013 with an “address” but no coordinates to render on a map.

On the other hand we had another inventory of schools for Argentina, made for totally different purpose by the Ministry of Education but luckily it included their corresponding geolocation. Back in 2013 we saw that many polling stations were located on schools throughout Argentina we decided to try to match them using a Machine Learning technique.  Seguir leyendo

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Argentina: Elections 2015

During 2015, Argentina had national and local elections including executive and legislative branches. It was a record for us citizens to vote in 6 opportunities the same year, for example in the City of Buenos Aires. In the national level, we had three elections: the Primaries, the General and the Ballotage elections in which president Macri won.

In terms of data: more than 32.000.000 possible voters distributed in 95.000 polling stations from 14.000 schools in all the territory of  Argentina, multiplied by 3 national elections.

Knowing that 2015 was going to be a strong election’s year in Argentina at La Nación we started early planning a strategy to tackle a long known problem that kept us from being able to show our readers the election results at a very fine-grained level. The geolocation of all the polling stations in Argentina.

Don’t miss: How we geolocated > 13.000 polling stations? Hint: A little help from Machine Learning, Knight Mozilla OpenNews fellows and  6 members of the team working heavily on validation process for almost 6 months. Take a look at the tools. 

Thanks to this effort we had our exclusive geolocalized polling votation national map.

For this unique opportunity we could focus in designing creative pieces that will serve  print, web and mobile from scratch reusing the same graphics pieces as well as considering real time data as the first input source.

What makes your project innovative? 

The opportunity to use technology to transfer control to the users and let them see, analyze and compare in detail. In this case our interactive data visualization served also for citizen control as we could reach and show the detail of every polling station including the original form manually completed and signed by the desk authorities.

The mix of real time data that was positioned in Lanacion.com home page the same afternoon as results were partially released by the National Electoral Office and a strategy to design only one piece using SVGs to reuse the same that night for the print edition were another innovations.

Using the drawing plugin for Leaflet, Leaflet.draw we could let the reader draw over the map, and with that drawing, through a geospatial query, the user can get the results from each intersecting polling station, aggregate them, and display the selected results.

Crossing two and three datasets in the more atomized level also was new as we could compare by irregular polygons in a map or by structured districts, the evolution of voters in the same polling station.  This is just the beginning of what can be done in the future if we are proactive to prevent fraud and let people control in real time at such a detailed level.

I. How was the election in YOUR voting booth?

Result for the runoff presidential election. The graphic shows the minimum possible detail for the election result. Every single poll station, as well as every telegram with the result of every voting booth are detailed. The main goal  is to personalize the results and engage people to find their own voting booth result.

Seguir leyendo

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Vozdata 2015: Unveiling Argentina´s elections system failures with impact.

Producing evidence data through Open data journalism and civic collaboration .

 

I. Elections transparency impact after comparing digitized primary elections telegrams with manually completed forms using technology and citizen participation in Argentina. Our third Vozdata Project.

In 2015, presidential elections were held in Argentina with massive protests and complaints in some provinces as regards of fraud during primary elections. National and some provinces electoral systems were under suspicious.

We decided to take action in order to analyze relevant public documents, looking to send a message to Government that we, the people,  were monitoring to avoid irregularities or fraud during final election and that this could be done using technology for accountability.

A government site has published more than 95.000 telegrams that authorities from each polling station sent to the postal office containing the amount of votes that each party and each candidate won, how many election monitors were present, etc. It’s not the complete overview concerning documents of the electoral process, but it is the first and original source, a handwritten form, from which all electoral results are processed.

We scraped the electoral results official site and built a dataset with the digitized data of every voting poll so we could built the complete dataset from scratch that would help us double check, use data analysis to detect the outliers from districts we should focus on and prioritize our citizen control efforts.  Seguir leyendo

Sin comentarios

How community and open source code drive LNData

The web, or more than that, digital media consumed from any platform, is the richest place to express any form of communication, to enrich any content or message and reach a large audience. Journalism has the greatest opportunity ever to access to all these formats and platforms, to produce and reuse the best quality content and at the same to become the best service for a committed society who already has the tools and the talent to collaborate and create meaningful change.

So when we speak about “open data journalism” and we think about the open data world, it is a chance for journalism to be open to new challenges, open for change and open to share and make teams with developers, NGO´s, universities and others and co produce better content together. We have the power to add value, transforming from documents from raw to open data, but publishing raw material as evidence as well. Easy and free!

Documentcloud is great for that and easy for everyone to use.

When it comes tocollaboration, a couple of experiences in our case were: Vozdata, our Open Collaboration Platform to transform PDF into datasets that was inspired by the  Free The files project from Propublica and The Guardian´s MP´s Expenses case.

It was developed from scratch by our OpenNews fellow Manuel Aristaran, and Gabriela Rodriguez to fulfill a need we have in many countries that lack a FOI law and open data: documents published in PDFs, sometimes unstructured and scanned as images, and on the other hand, a community of people that wants to help and is ready to prove it.

So, together with more than 1100 volunteers from universities and NGOs we processed and transformed more than 10.000 PDF with Senate Expenses, and articles from these datasets produced front page stories and even judicial investigations of public servants.

Again, journalism helps raise these datasets “voices” , that would be kept in silence and trapped in those PDFs. Vozdata is open sourced as “Crowdata” and is being reused by other countries and projects.

Open Statements of Assets:   a collaboration project that produced open data from manually typed print copies of 1200 Statements of Assets (Affidavits) that were requested of the three powers: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. We worked in collaboration with three transparency NGOs that monitor these powers and more than 30 volunteers who typed and checked in our “checkathons” (full days checking and having fun!) thanks to collaborative tools and coordinated work. We are now open sourcing this platform and adding more content and features to it.

Election granular data presented in interactive maps can help citizens monitor in detail. Another project we are working and amplifying this year is Elections. With Juan Elosua, taking the original map from Manuel Aristaran.

We can see in every school that there is the detail of every vote.

And after that he built a tool that allows us to compare and make more in depth analysis by “zone” drawing polygons that selects points and adding the results inside these new polygons.

So here technology is helping citizens and journalism analyze and understand in a time lapse and in detail the changes regarding limits, a great tool we can build once and reuse many times is a tool worth investing in. Journalists that are open to experience new tools and technology don’t need to understand everything, they need to trust.

To learn where innovation is, there is an opportunity to assist and engage with movements like Hacks/Hackers or Open Knowledge, where as an example, in a hackathon we met Andy Tow who specializes in elections data and gathered with a team, together with Gaba our Fellow, we applied for a challenge and won a little fund to build an app that presents a searchable database, maps and analyzes campaign financing data since 2007.

When technologists embrace activism to apply their skills for change, they become the best: hacktivists! Those are the ones that gather the power or apply technology and the proactivity to surprise journalism with incredible discoveries in large volumes of data, platforms of entity extraction, machine learning, interactive visualizations that cross all platforms and intelligent ways of solving problems.

We loved to feel the magic of talented fellows who really helped us leapfrog, make big steps, take risks and learn, but also together with our journalism and open collaboration platforms prove that the power of working together accelerates changes, is efficient and multiplies its effect when open sourced and shares with others.

Regarding the Knight-Mozilla Opennews fellowship, If you have the opportunity to apply to be a Fellow, do it! you will learn, experience and help with what you already know.

The search ends August 21, 2015 and the application form >> is here. <<

 

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The Political Maze 2015

The candidates for president in Argentina are already immersed in the complex electoral race with focus on arriving to the Casa Rosada by the end of 2015. A good exercise for voters is to explore as a wayback machine and review the political past of each candidate, and get more background beyond their promises or public statements.

LA NACION launched by the end of 2014 The Political Maze 2015”, an interactive tool for visualizing the political path made by the major candidates and crosses between them in different political parties during previous elections.  Seguir leyendo

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CONGRESOSCOPIO, una aplicación de noticias para seguir la labor legislativa de nuestros diputados

Categoría nro. 11: Section or topic

Seguir el comportamiento de los legisladores en el Congreso de la República Argentina no es una tarea sencilla, por eso un equipo interdisciplinario conformado por periodístas, diseñadores y programadores de LA NACIÓN, creo una aplicación de noticias llamada Congresoscopio que le permita a toda la ciudadanía conocer en detalle el desempeño parlamentario de cada uno de los diputados.

Hasta ahora, esta información era inaccesible o publicada de modo disperso, por eso, de aquí en adelante, los ciudadanos podrán utilizarla como material de consulta permanente para conocer en profundidad la gestión de quienes nos representan, desde los más desconocidos hasta aquellos con alto perfil o importantes aspiraciones políticas.

1. PANTALLA “INICIO”


Desde un hemiciclo interactivo con la disposición actual del recinto, se puede navegar banca por banca para acceder a la información de cada uno de los diputados.

2. PANTALLA “LEYES”

Si el usuario elige el botón “Leyes”, tendrá a su disposición una base de más de 200 iniciativas tratadas en el recinto, que abarcan a 2010 hasta la fecha, con información detallada de cada sesión. El lector tiene la posibilidad de explorar según sus inquietudes, accediendo además a documentos originales que se pueden descargar. Las actas de las votaciones y los textos de cada ley son algunos de los archivos que ofrece la aplicación.

La búsqueda también puede estar enfocada por tipo de voto o por las fuerzas políticas que confluyen en el Congreso. Las visualizaciones muestran cómo se diferencian los partidos a la hora de votar un determinado proyecto de ley y dejan al descubierto también las disidencias al interior de un mismo bloque u orientación. Las coincidencias inesperadas o controvertidas también quedan plasmadas en los gráficos y disparan nuevos análisis.  Seguir leyendo

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El laberinto político 2015

Los precandidatos a presidente en la Argentina ya están inmersos en la compleja carrera electoral con el foco en llegar a la Casa Rosada a fines del 2015. Un buen ejercicio para los votantes es hacer el camino inverso y revisar el pasado de cada uno de ellos, una manera de conocerlos más allá de sus promesas o declaraciones públicas.

Para realizar ese recorrido, LA NACION presento antes de finalizar el año 2014 El laberinto político 2015, una herramienta interactiva que permite visualizar el camino realizado por los principales postulantes y los cruces entre ellos a lo largo de las elecciones de los últimos añosSeguir leyendo

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CartoDB for Elections Mapping

The LNData team with Manuel Aristarán, Mozilla OpenNews fellow 2013, developed an interactive map that allowed visualization of the results of the 2013 parliamentary election  in the different voting centers of CABA and Buenos Aires province. Also there was access to the details of the telegrams from all tables for more information.

The map in CartoDB combined the geo-localization of voting centers with the number of votes and the distribution of those votes by party in each center. The size of the bubble on the map represented the difference between the winner and the runner-up. 

The team did a pilot test for the primaries (known here as PASO) and repeated the experience in the October 27 election.

How the results turned out in the school that you voted?

 

Stages of the process and the technology used for preparing data before visualizing in Cartodb  Seguir leyendo

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