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Welcome to NYC School of Data — a community conference that demystifies the policies and practices around civic data, technology, and service design. This year’s conference concludes NYC’s annual Open Data Week & features 60+ sessions organized by NYC’s civic technology, data, and design community! Our conversations & workshops will feed your mind and empower you to improve your neighborhood. Follow the conversation #nycSOdata on twitter and tune into our live stream (provided by the Internet Society New York Chapter).

To attend, you need to purchase tickets via eventbrite. Venue is fully accessible and content is all ages friendly — free, professional on-site childcare is provided for ALL participants! If you have accessibility questions or needs, please email us at < schoolofdata@beta.nyc >.

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Saturday, March 7 • 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Hands on workshop - R + Election Data, learn to create a walk sheet for every election district in the county

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Every political campaign, no matter how big or small, needs walk sheets to guide canvassers during door-knocking and petitioning.  Larger political campaigns have the resources to purchase cleaned voter files and pay for apps to create bespoke walk sheets.  Smaller campaigns use public data (the raw voter file from the Board of Elections) to create walk sheets. Brooklyn has over 2 million voters and 1,800 election districts, so it is especially time-consuming.  In this workshop, we’ll walk you through our open source R script to create a walk sheet for every election district in the county for the Rep Your Block campaign in Brooklyn.   

Rep Your Block
The Brooklyn Democratic County Committee is the most local level of Democratic party governance. The County Committee’s duties include choosing local judicial candidates, choosing the Democratic nominee in special elections (1 in 3 current New York State legislators were elected via a special election), and creating the Democratic party platform, among other things. There are roughly 5,000 members in the committee, but unfortunately, many of these seats lie vacant. The RepYourBlock campaign was created in an effort to organize Brooklynites interested in participating in the party and to support candidates running for County Committee by providing the funds and resources necessary to complete the campaign process.

In this workshop we’ll cover: 
  • What’s in the raw voter file
  • The process for correcting some of the many misspelled street names and other idiosyncrasies of the Brooklyn voter file
  • Ordering the sheets in an approximation of how a canvasser might walk the streets
  • Highlighting recently active voters for each district
  • Creating maps of each election district using shapefiles from NYC open data
  • Creating the file structure and writing out the maps and walk sheets formatted for print and digital
  • Making the ED walk sheets accessible to the correct canvasser
Along the way, we’ll discuss the privacy concerns of working with the BOE voter file, lessons learned, and how we would have done it differently if we had more time.  We’ll talk about how to fork the script on github and generalize it for other counties in New York or beyond.  Finally, we’ll turn it over to participants to brainstorm ways to improve the script, point out things we missed, and maybe even start improving it.
This will be a hands-on workshop, so experience with R, and a laptop with R installed will make this workshop especially worthwhile.  Beginners welcome!  We’ll discuss many topics outside of R along the way so non R-users are also welcome.


Sara Hodges

Director of Data and Visualization, EdBuild

Saturday March 7, 2020 4:15pm - 5:15pm EST
2-113 - (14 ppl)