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State Election District Targeting Procedure

Citizens Oversight (2016-08-08) Ray Lutz

This Page: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/StateElectionDistrictTargetingProcedure
More Info: Election Integrity, Election Team, Snapshot Protocol, Snapshot Protocol

State Election District Targeting Procedure

This procedure determines election district targets and evaluates past audit compliance.

In the following procedure, replace your state abbreviation where you see 'ST'. This procedure generates a data file which provides the top targets for our oversight work. Generally, by the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule), the most populous 20% of the election districts will comprise 80% of the voters. Also, it captures recent election audit reports. Other districts should only be processed if we have someone who really wants to do the work in that district.

State Priorities

Before we dip into the districts, we prioritize by number of registered voters in each state. States do not very well follow the 80/20 rule, it is more like 50/20 or 80/40 rule.

Rank Portion of Voters State List (in order from highest electorate
Top 12 (24%) 50% CALIFORNIA, TEXAS, FLORIDA, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, ILLINOIS, OHIO, MICHIGAN, NORTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, VIRGINIA, NEW JERSEY
Top 24 States (48%) 80% WASHINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS, MISSOURI, TENNESSEE, INDIANA, WISCONSIN, MARYLAND, MINNESOTA, ARIZONA, COLORADO, SOUTH CAROLINA, LOUISIANA

Election Integrity Targets.png

County Priorities

We reviewed the entire list of election districts in the nation. The top 175 of the some 8000 districts (about 2.1%) account for 50% of the voters in the nation. The following map shows the locations of the top 175 counties. We will primarily be focusing on the top 175 counties in the country rather than prioritizing on a state-by-state basis. After we get the lions share of those counties covered, we may want to extend to the tp 300 counties (60% of the vote) or the top 500 counties (70% of the vote). I daresay getting 70% coverage would be quite a success story. But let's concentrate on the first 175 counties to cover 50% of the electorate.

Map showing the top 175 counties (50% of voters) in the nation.: High-res
175_Districts_have_50_of_registered_Voters.png

Please note:
  • Some states, like Nevada, are not in the top states list, but Clark County (Las Vegas) is a very significant county. So in addition to looking at this state-by-state, we can look at these few important counties as well.
  • East Coast counties are very small. Thus although NYC falls below Los Angeles, it is broken up into multiple counties and as a whole rates much higher.
  • Chicago is also very dense and Chicago City is broken out as a separate district.
  • Small states like NJ will have almost all counties of interest due to their extreme density.
  • WI has 3589 really small districts with an average of about 1000 voters, and none rise to the level on national level. This will take more investigation to figure out how to effectively provide oversight. These are more like "precincts" in other states.
  • Alaska is one big single election district. They do not break it down by county.
  • North Dakota does not register voters so they are not included. Will have to analyze using population.

Here is a snippet of the national ranking table showing the first 22 entries:
Top22TargetsInTable.JPG

Initial 175 County targets

Here are the top 175 counties we are targeting! (read across then down for rank).

Jurisdiction Primary City State Jurisdiction Primary City State Jurisdiction Primary City State Jurisdiction Primary City State
LOS ANGELES COUNTY Los Angeles CA MARICOPA COUNTY Phoenix AZ HARRIS COUNTY Houston TX Chicago city Chicago IL
Cook County Chicago IL SAN DIEGO COUNTY San Diego CA ORANGE COUNTY Anaheim CA Kings County Booklyn NY
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY Miami FL WAYNE COUNTY Detroit MI DALLAS COUNTY Dallas TX BROWARD COUNTY Fortlauderdale FL
KING COUNTY Seattle WA Queens County Queens NY New York County Manhattan NY CLARK COUNTY Las Vegas NV
TARRANT COUNTY Fort Worth TX PHILADELPHIA COUNTY Philadelphia PA Suffolk County Long Island NY Nassau County Long Island NY
BEXAR COUNTY San Antonio TX OAKLAND COUNTY Near Detroit MI PALM BEACH COUNTY West Palm Beach FL RIVERSIDE COUNTY Riverside CA
CUYAHOGA Cleveland OH ALLEGHENY COUNTY Pittsburgh PA SACRAMENTO COUNTY Sacramento CA SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY San Bernardino CA
ALAMEDA COUNTY Oakland CA SANTA CLARA COUNTY San Jose CA FRANKLIN Columbus OH HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY Tampa FL
ORANGE COUNTY Orlando FL ST. LOUIS COUNTY St. Louis MO HENNEPIN COUNTY Minneapolis MN Bronx County Bronx NY
FAIRFAX COUNTY Fairfax (near DC) VA MECKLENBURG COUNTY Charlotte NC WAKE COUNTY Raleigh NC PINELLAS COUNTY Clearwater FL
TRAVIS COUNTY Austin TX FULTON COUNTY Atlanta GA MARION COUNTY Indianapolis IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY Rockville MD
Du Page County Next to Chicago IL MACOMB COUNTY Warren MI Erie County Buffalo NY Westchester County White Plains (near NYC) NY
DUVAL COUNTY Jacksonville FL PIMA COUNTY Tucson AZ ALASKA (entire state) AK BERGEN COUNTY Hackensack (Near NYC) NJ
SALT LAKE COUNTY Salt Lake City UT JEFFERSON COUNTY Louisville KY HAMILTON Cincinnati OH PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY Near DC MD
SHELBY COUNTY Memphis TN MONTGOMERY COUNTY Norristown (Near Philadelphia) PA CONTRA COSTA COUNTY Walnut Creek CA BALTIMORE COUNTY Baltimore MD
ESSEX COUNTY Newark NJ MIDDLESEX COUNTY Edison (Near NYC) NJ COLLIN COUNTY Plano TX DENVER COUNTY Denver CO
HONOLULU COUNTY Honolulu HI DEKALB COUNTY Near atlanta GA Monroe County Rochester NY GWINNETT COUNTY Near atlanta GA
COBB COUNTY Marietta (Near Atlanta) GA DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DC DC Lake County Waukegan (near Chicago) IL KENT COUNTY Grand Rapids MI
PIERCE COUNTY Tacoma WA MULTNOMAH COUNTY Portland OR BERNALILLO COUNTY Albuquerque NM SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY San Francisco CA
BUCKS COUNTY Trenton PA VENTURA COUNTY Ventura CA LEE COUNTY Fort Myers FL EL PASO COUNTY Colorado Springs CO
JEFFERSON COUNTY Near Denver CO MONMOUTH COUNTY (near NYC) NJ FRESNO COUNTY Fresno CA SNOHOMISH COUNTY Everett (near Seattle) WA
JEFFERSON COUNTY Birmingham AL BREVARD COUNTY Cocoa Beach FL DENTON COUNTY Denton (near Dallas, Fort Worth) TX Will County Near Chicago IL
EL PASO COUNTY El Paso TX OKLAHOMA COUNTY Oklahoma City OK NEW CASTLE COUNTY Wilmington DE ARAPAHOE COUNTY Near Denver CO
OCEAN COUNTY Toms River, near NYC, Philly NJ BOSTON CITY Boston MA JOHNSON COUNTY Near Kansas City KS DELAWARE COUNTY near philly PA
POLK COUNTY Betw. Orlando, Tampa FL MONTGOMERY Near Cincinnati OH BALTIMORE CITY Baltimore MD DAVIDSON COUNTY Nashville TN
KERN COUNTY   CA FORT BEND COUNTY Near Houston TX VOLUSIA COUNTY Daytona Beach FL SUMMIT Akron OH
GUILFORD COUNTY Greensboro NC SAN MATEO COUNTY   CA LAKE COUNTY Gary IN ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY   MD
CAMDEN COUNTY Near Philly NJ TULSA COUNTY Tulsa OK GENESEE COUNTY Flint MI DOUGLAS COUNTY Omaha NE
MORRIS COUNTY Near Newark NJ PASCO COUNTY No. of Tampa FL HIDALGO COUNTY So. Tip. TX CHESTER COUNTY Near Philly PA
UNION COUNTY Near Newark NJ STANISLAUS COUNTY Modesto CA HUDSON COUNTY Jersey City NJ LUCAS Toledo OH
LANCASTER COUNTY Near Philly PA Onondaga County Syracuse NY RAMSEY COUNTY St. Paul MN SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY Stockton CA
KNOX COUNTY Knoxville TN PASSAIC COUNTY Near Newark NJ WASHINGTON COUNTY Near Portland OR SARASOTA COUNTY   FL
VIRGINIA BEACH CITY   VA BURLINGTON COUNTY   NJ GREENVILLE COUNTY Greenville, w of Charlotte SC POLK COUNTY Des Moines IA
EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH Baton Rouge LA MONTGOMERY COUNTY No. of Houston TX SPOKANE COUNTY Spokane WA SEMINOLE COUNTY NE Orlando FL
Richmond County Staten Island NY WASHTENAW COUNTY Ann Arbor MI SEDGWICK COUNTY Wichita KS WILLIAMSON COUNTY No. of Austin TX
UTAH COUNTY So. of SLC UT WASHOE COUNTY Reno NV YORK COUNTY York, so side PA JEFFERSON PARISH New Orleans (W) LA
ADAMS COUNTY NE Denver CO ALLEN COUNTY Fort Wayne IN MOBILE COUNTY Mobile AL ST. CHARLES COUNTY NW St. Louis MO
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY SW Washington VA CHARLESTON COUNTY Charleston SC BOULDER COUNTY Boulder CO DAKOTA COUNTY S. Minneapolis MN
ORLEANS PARISH New Orleans LA STARK Canton OH CLARK COUNTY No. Portland WA FORSYTH COUNTY Winston Salem NC
JACKSON COUNTY SE Kansas City MO SONOMA COUNTY Santa Rosa CA PULASKI COUNTY Little Rock AR RICHLAND COUNTY Columbia SC
WESTMORELAND COUNTY E. Pittsburgh PA Kane County W. Chicago IL BERKS COUNTY NW Philly PA BUTLER N. Cincinnati OH
LARIMER COUNTY Fort Collins CO MARION COUNTY Ocala (NW Orlando) FL MERCER COUNTY   NJ MADISON COUNTY Huntsville AL
HAMILTON COUNTY Chattanooga TN CLACKAMAS COUNTY SE Portland OR ADA COUNTY Boise ID DOUGLAS COUNTY S. Denver CO
MANATEE COUNTY S. Tampa FL Orange County   NY CHESTERFIELD COUNTY SW Richmond VA      

Steps to get state teams started

Within each state, we need to do the following:

1. Election Districts

Compile a list of all the election districts. These are likely just the counties. Generally, we get a spreadsheet with the following columns:

WikiFileName County Contact Title Address City State Zip Phone Fax Email Website

This should be available from the Secretary of State's web site. Usually, you can copy and paste into a spreadsheet and get the information but it may require some fixup. Let's call this ST-ElectionDistricts.csv (It can be a .xls (excel spreadsheet) or .ods (Open office spreadsheet) or just .CSV (character separated values). Most of the columns should be self-explanatory, except for:
  • WikiFileName -- This is not a field you will collect from the state's SOS. It should be ST_CountyName, like CA_SanDiego. Leave out spaces.
  • Contact - name of the election official, registrar of voters, county clerk, supervisor of elections, etc who is responsible for conducting elections and will be your contact for interaction.
  • Title - Title of that contact.
  • The rest of the contact information is generally how you will be contacting that person.

2. The current voter registration in each of the election districts.

You don't need to do this as we have already done it for all 50 states. We can provide this. We have collected recent voter registration numbers which will be close enough for our purposes here, by sorting the same file by State and then by Registered Voters. You should be able copy and paste the section for your state to your other file.

The following file is the registration of all counties sorted first by state then by county. Alabama has the sort of analysis to determine the top 20% targets and the top 40%.

3. Combine

Sort both by district name and copy the registered voters column into the FL-ElectionDistricts.csv file. Save this.

4. Determine top 20%

We are not doing it this way any more as we are focused on the top 175, 300, or 500 counties. Sort by highest registered voters to least. Choose top 20% of the election districts. These will be our primary targets.

4.1 (Optional) create a colorful map of the counties of interest.

  • Use this online tool: http://mapchart.net/usa-counties.html
  • Choose the counties of interest.
  • Download and then snip out just the state of interest using snipping tool.
  • result should look like these for California and Florida

CA County Targets.JPG   FL map.JPG

5. Check cumulative

We have already done this step for all states If you are good at spreadsheets, you may want to also create a column which is the RANK, which can be generated by the =RANK(value, column) syntax. That way the rank is preserved if you sort the districts by name or some other value. Also, create a column which is the cumulative reg. voters and one which is the % of the total. We are hoping that the top 20% will be about 80% of the vote. By way of example, in CA, the top 3 counties comprise about 50% of the vote, the top 20% (top dozen) counties comprises 76% of the vote, and the top 40% of the counties (2 dozen) comprise 92% of the vote.

6. Review the law regarding the post-election audits in your state.

Use this website: http://www.ceimn.org/searchable_databases/state_audit_laws

Most important is the existence of a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). DRE (Direct Recording Equipment) without an associated VVPAT means any audits performed cannot reach back to the voter intent, and are therefore worthless. Click the map to go to the verified voting site.

VVPAT map.JPG

The follow ballot types are sufficient: Any combinations with DREs without VVPAT cannot be effectively audited.
  • Paper Ballots
  • Vote by Mail.
  • Paper and punch card.
  • DREs with VVPAT

The following file provides county-by-county details on voting equipment. Review this to see if you have an auditable paper trail.

7. Locate and Review any "voter's bill of rights"

Will need to locate the "Voter's bill of rights" or similar laws in your election code that allow you to observe, ask questions, and get them answered by elections officials. These differ in all states.

Don't know of a common place where these are all compiled, so we (COPs) may end up being that resource.

8. Locate and review "Open Meeting Laws" AKA "Sunshine Laws"

We need provisions that deal with the following areas in our tool box.
  • Requirements for notice of any public meetings.
    • Sometimes just "reasonable" is all they say, but may also give specific time requirements.
  • Requirements for providing public records
    • Typically called Public Records Acts, lie CPRA, California Public Records Act.
    • These laws require that public officials provide any public records to members of the public that request them, under the theory that the government is owned by the public, and therefore those are our records.

This site is helpful: https://ballotpedia.org/State_sunshine_laws

Remaining steps only for counties that include a post-election manual audit of some kind, no matter how weak.

9. Look for archived audit report for the targeted counties for prior election(s)

These may be available from the SOS website. Create a directory for each county on your computer with names such as ST_CountyName. Do not include any spaces in the folder name. Create a column in your district file and include the folder name in the appropriate cell. Name this column WikiFileName. Copy those files onto your computer in the appropriate folder of the same name. Note, this is not the audit of the ELECTION SYSTEMS but instead the recent audit reports from recent elections. These may not be instantly available, even though they should be posted. You may have to ask for them.

10. If the audit files are not available at the SOS website:

Look in each county website and attempt to locate the audit report. If you cannot find it, then ask the county for the report(s). Use this procedure: Requesting Information Procedure

Note: In CA, we noted that the Secretary of State discontinued posting these reports on their website since the 2010 elections. No one does oversight, and they start to atrophy into doing nothing.

11. Evaluate the audits

12. Consult with Citizens Oversight experts.

Depending on our evaluation, we may want to file lawsuits to force them to comply with the law. Many laws are very weak, but something is better than nothing, and shortcutting weak laws makes them even weaker. However, we like to avoid lawsuits if at all possible and try to work with the elections officials in a business-like manner.

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Title State Election District Targeting Procedure
Publisher Citizens Oversight
Author Ray Lutz
Pub Date 2016-08-08
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Keywords Election Integrity, Election Team, Snapshot Protocol, Snapshot Protocol
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Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
175_Districts_have_50_of_registered_Voters.pngpng 175_Districts_have_50_of_registered_Voters.png manage 3 MB 12 Aug 2016 - 22:34 Raymond Lutz Map showing the top 175 counties in the nation.
CA_County_Targets.JPGJPG CA_County_Targets.JPG manage 40 K 09 Aug 2016 - 00:28 Raymond Lutz Counties Targeted in California
Election_Integrity_Targets.pngpng Election_Integrity_Targets.png manage 1 MB 09 Aug 2016 - 00:19 Raymond Lutz State Targets
FL_map.JPGJPG FL_map.JPG manage 82 K 12 Aug 2016 - 23:01 Raymond Lutz Florida Targeting Map
NatonalRegVotersByCounty.xlsxxlsx NatonalRegVotersByCounty.xlsx manage 2 MB 13 Aug 2016 - 05:06 Raymond Lutz County targets sorted by county
NatonalRegVotersByStatethenCounty.xlsxxlsx NatonalRegVotersByStatethenCounty.xlsx manage 2 MB 31 Oct 2016 - 15:39 Raymond Lutz County targets sorted by state then county
Top22TargetsInTable.JPGJPG Top22TargetsInTable.JPG manage 168 K 12 Aug 2016 - 23:09 Raymond Lutz Snippet of top 22 counties in the overall ranking table
VVPAT_map.JPGJPG VVPAT_map.JPG manage 59 K 18 Sep 2016 - 00:16 Raymond Lutz VVPAT by state
verifier-search.xlsxxlsx verifier-search.xlsx manage 736 K 01 Oct 2016 - 16:33 Raymond Lutz This file provides the equipment used on county by county basis.
Topic revision: r10 - 07 Feb 2018, RaymondLutz
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