Election day in Colorado: How did it stack up on voter-review site My Fair Election?
There was a lot of talk this election season about access to voting -- which is one reason Karen Suhaka, who runs a Denver-based online research company, decided to collect voter-driven data on the performance of polling sites across the country. Her website, MyFairElection.com, cataloged reviews from coast to coast, where voters rated polling places and vented about some of the worst disasters on November 6.
Big photos below.
Since the results of the election came in last Tuesday night, Suhaka has been analyzing her own data on the actual process of the election, based on reviews collected through her website, which she created just a few months earlier.
MyFairElection.com came out of a Denver hackathon over the summer where web developers and programmers got together and collaborated on new projects.
Sam Levin Governor John Hickenlooper visiting a polling site in Arapahoe County on Election Day.
"There's lots of places [online] where you could go look up polling places and lots of places to report problems. That's all good," says Suhaka, the founder and president of LegiNation Inc., a Denver company that does online tracking and research about legislation. "But I'm a data girl. I'm a math girl. And I wanted to collect this data on the polling places.... I wanted to show wait times across the country and start to measure that so everybody knows they are being held accountable."
She realized there was nothing like My Fair Election out there -- no site that would actually give voters a platform to comment on their experiences and also provide useful data to a single source that could analyze and extract trends.
"I think people want to know...if your line is longer or shorter," she says. "You want to think that by reporting this, it'll get better.... I don't know how, without collecting this information, polling places are going to get better."
In that way, voters could essentially become "citizen election monitors" by signing up at My Fair Election, telling others about their voting experience and offering a number ranking on the polling site, which Suhaka could then aggregate into maps.
Since the site is very new, Suhaka didn't do a great deal of publicity around it, but Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist -- who had actually inspired Suhaka to build the site at a conference -- helped promote My Fair Election, which drove some traffic to the site. In addition, the website got mentions during election day through CNN and MSNBC, says Suhaka.
In total, MyFairElection.com collected around 1,200 reports from across the country. That isn't enough to be very statistically meaningful, Suhaka admits, but she believes the data still created a useful pool of information that she was able to map and analyze.
Here's a map Suhaka created of the number of reviews she collected from different states.
And here's a map of average star ratings, from 1 to 5:
billtrack50.com My Fair Election reviews from across the country
Continue for more findings from My Fair Election and details on Colorado's election.