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FOCUS ON: Election Data Archive (Transcript)

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Sacramento State’s California Election Data Archive makes it a lot easier to track voting trends in local races. The project, launched 12 years ago as a partnership between the University’s Center for California Studies and the Institute for Social Research, and the Secretary of State’s Office, collates and analyzes the results from local elections.
(Narrator:) This is “Focus” from the campus of Sacramento State.

“One, two, three...”

(Jim Finnerty, reporting:) California public schools often depend on bond issues for funding. But what’s the success rate for such issues statewide? That’s the kind of information offered by Sacramento State’s “California Election Data Archive.”

“Overall, we have found that about half of all tax measures are, indeed, approved by voters.”

(Finnerty:) Tim Hodson directs the university’s Center for California Studies which, along with the Institute for Social Research oversees the archive—compiling election results on local issues and local races for all of California.

(Tim Hodson, Center for California Studies, Sacramento State:) “We have used resources, minimal resources, to put together a database that is open to anybody with a computer.”

(Finnerty:) The project was launched by Sacramento State in 1996. It’s one of very few such programs in the country and accessed by researchers and policy makers in the U.S. and abroad.

(Ernest Cowles, Institute of Social Research, Sacramento State:) “Everybody’s interested in California because California serves as sort of a barometer of issues and is sort of a leading edge on a lot of indicators.”

(Finnerty:) The year-round project examines elective trends drawing data from 58 counties, 478 cities and 1,100 school districts.

(Cowles:) “It’s not just what we find in a particular year; a snapshot of elections for the year, but really-what are the longer term trends?”

(Finnerty:) The data is shared with California’s Secretary of State and released in an annual report.

(Hodson:) “We always have people using it, but we want many more people to use it. It is a public good that we have made available to the people of California which otherwise would be virtually impossible for them to get.”

(Finnerty:) This is Jim Finnerty Reporting.

(Narrator:) For more information on this and other news from Sacramento State, visit our website.

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