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This database shows eight years of polling place locations

Poynter – “While reporting two years ago, Carrie Levine heard from voters that polling place closures were an issue. Levine, a senior reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, also read about the closure and moving of polling places, “all of which seemed limited by the fact that detailed location data wasn’t available,” she told Poynter in an email. “I wondered if we could assemble it, and started brainstorming with my colleague, Pratheek Rebala, a data reporter and news developer.” After more than a year and 1,200 public information requests, the results of their work are available today in an open-source database that contains every polling place in 30 states from general elections in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018, with more state data coming soon. “It will allow users to track polling place changes for jurisdictions over time, and report out which voters have been affected by them — important information as polling places are set for the 2020 election,” Levine said. Collecting the data, in some cases, meant going county by county in 12 states and standardizing records that came in a variety of formats. It’s also already led to a story. This week, Public Integrity and Stateline published a piece on polling place changes following 2016 floods in Louisiana’s East Baton Rouge Parish. “Our analysis of polling place locations and voter file data found that 26% of Black voters in the parish had their polling place changed between the 2012 and 2016 general elections, compared with 15% of white voters in the parish,” Levine said. “The changes added confusion for voters already preoccupied with the fallout from the flooding, a story that has lessons for this year as voters struggle with the burdens of the coronavirus pandemic and vast changes in how to vote.”…

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