Coming soon: Primary election results

Since it’s been a month since I’ve done a blog post, I thought I should do some explaining.

In the first few months of this site being public, the most requested feature has been primary election results. And since Indiana looks headed towards an exciting 2016 primary election season, I thought it was probably a good idea to get those results loaded in. Most of my work on the site in the last month has been on that front, though it’s largely been behind the scenes.  There are a few reasons why:

1) When I built the site’s back end architecture, I was forward-looking enough to build it with the idea of adding primary elections at some point. What I quickly realized in recent weeks, however, is that the way the database was set up didn’t make it easy to distinguish between Republican and Democratic primaries. So the first thing I had to do was modify the tables that make up the existing database.

2) Along the same lines, my back-end system for data entry also needed updated.  This started out as a quick and simple project of adding the option to designate an election as a Republican Primary or a Democratic Primary.  This worked for the first couple of primary results I entered, but then I ran into a new limitation: I only had space for 7 candidates. In the course of entering over 100 years of general election results, I’d never had more than 7 candidates, which makes sense: Each party only gets one candidate, and ballot access for a political party is pretty limited.  But in a primary, you can end up with very crowded fields (like the 13-way race in the Republican primary for the U.S. House  District 4 seat in 2010). So I reworked that entire system, not just to bump up the number of candidates, but to allow myself to easily expand it to an infinite number as needed.

3) Obviously, the election results page needed to be redesigned and bug-tested to make it easier to filter and view results by election type (General, Primary, or Special). But that’s not the only page that pulls from the election results portion of the database: The Election Records page and politician profile pages also needed to be updated an slightly redesigned. This has taken up a lot of time.

4) Research and input is always the most time-consuming aspect of this site. Now that I’ve got all the unseen pieces finished, I’ve spent a lot of time at the Library of Congress recently gathering results. In the last week, I finally started the data entry.

Expect to see some new election results and site features in coming weeks.

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