FOIAing election records, October 22, 2010
FOIAchat was a weekly conference on Twitter from 2 PM to 3 PM EST under the hashtag #foiachat. The discussion invited collaboration between activists, citizens, bloggers and journalists on public records requests topics. Topics included the Freedom of Information Act and state equivalents, open meetings laws, and related issues.
FOIAchat was decommissioned in 2013. Read our legal disclaimer.
- Mayor exceeds open meetings requirements in South Carolina
- Freedom of Information Request to DC Board of Elections and Ethics. Example of FOIA for many election records.
- With maps: Voter turnout percentages in the August 2010 primary (# of registered voters reported wrong in a precinct in Michigan)
- Is Metadata a Public Record? Case Law Update
- Index of Public Records for the SC 2010 Primaries
- FollowtheMoney.org for tracking campaign money
- E-Voting Suit Reveals Frailties of the Ballot Box. Electronic voting is going before the Texas Supreme Court.
- Twitterers to follow: @BallotPedia; @OpenSecretsDC for federal data; @Maplight for Congress.
- USASpending.gov “almost entirely useless”
- Contests that take useless government data and make it useful
- Michigan traffic crash database with redacted, geolocated accident reports.
- City of Milwaukee the poll tape says 640 more ballots counted than given to electors. 640 discrepancy in Nov 2, 2004 Blog: http://tinyurl.com/2bc9788 Data by Variance: http://tinyurl.com/2fetjmk
- Election records to FOIA:
- EoD poll tapes, Inspectors' reports (local canvass), reports from the database. Most times, these do not agree.
- Financial disclosure records.
- Property records, court documents. Even though they're not election documents, they can tell much about someone running for election.
- Election Law Followed implies Record exists. Thus no record implies an election law violation.
- You can FOIA for the names of those requesting absentee ballots and special ballots.
- Campaign finance is a favorite topic: there's an infinite amount of stories to be done.
- Disclosure requirements make a big difference as to context.
- Nearly everything electronic is shielded by trade secret claims.
- Adaptive provision of data: the market is citizen watchdogs. There are motives beyond money to FOIA for data.
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