Five big changes coming to Allegheny County’s election results website

Data nerds and map lovers take note.

Voters in Pittsburgh on Election Day 2016

Voters in Pittsburgh on Election Day 2016

Jasmine Goldband / The Incline
MJ Slaby

As primary results roll in on the night of May 16, the Allegheny County election results website won’t be churning out its usual print-out style reports. Instead, they’ll be color-coded and visual, the county told The Incline on Wednesday.

It was a needed change and a “considerable upgrade,” said Jerry Tyskiewicz, the county’s director of administrative services. Staff has been testing out the new platform from a company named Scytl for nearly a year, but didn’t want to make permanent changes before the contentious presidential election, he said.

The new format will be more malleable and allow for deeper analysis by the general public and candidates, Tyskiewicz said. It’s also a resource for the county to point to when researchers and students ask for data, said Liz Dell, a business analyst in the county’s division of computer services. If you want to take a look now, the 2016 general election results have been transferred to the new format. (Previous election results are still online in the old format.)

On Wednesday, Dell gave The Incline an overview of the update and five of its most noteworthy changes.

  1. At the top of the results page, you’ll see races by level (from federal to state to county and municipal). Click one, and there will be a bar graph for each race. In the primary, there’s a chart for each political party in each race.
    Allegheny County
  2. Click on the chart for a color-coded map based on the candidate that won the precinct. Hover over a precinct and a bar graph will appear showing the percentage of votes and number of votes for each candidate. (The number of write-ins represents the total, not a tally for each person who was written in.) For races in which the entire county doesn’t vote, precincts that aren’t eligible appear in white.
    Allegheny County
  3. Voter turnout data is also available that shows how many voters cast a ballot and the number of registered voters in each precinct. Especially important for election night, a chart and map will show how many precincts have reported so far.
    Allegheny County
  4. You have the option to select “My Favorite Races.” Just click the star on the races you want to follow, and they’ll be there when you return to favorites. It’s based on your cookies, so no log-in is needed, but it will disappear if you clear your browser data.
    Favorite races
    Allegheny County
  5. And lastly — the data is all available for download in multiple formats.
    Allegheny County

A word of caution on primary election night: Remember that the results aren’t final and don’t include absentee ballots, County Elections Division Manager Mark Wolosik said. Those are added in later, and the results will then say they are “final.” Absentees usually only represent about two or three percent of the vote, he said, “but that could make a difference in a municipal election.”

P.S. The deadline to register to vote is April 17. Voters who have moved, changed their names or changed their party affiliation have to notify the county.