El Paso News, in conjunction with our partner technology company Cognent, has been collecting public sourced information about El Paso voters, their voting habits and other demographic information including businesses, their owners and campaign contributions for over 20 years. Included among our data sets includes homeownership – professional licenses, like trades and lawyers and engineers – and other information like education, family demographics, criminal records and lifestyle preferences. We currently have profiles on over half a million El Pasoans.

Renegade Public Affairs is a full-service public affairs consulting firm.

We have used our data over the years in the stories we publish about public policy and election reporting, including polling and election outcome predictions. During the 2020 elections we launched a pilot program allowing voters to look up their voting records and those of their neighbors. We learned that El Paso voters wanted more access to information about El Paso voters.

We believe that data is an equalizer, especially in elections. With that in mind we launched the Open Data Project for El Paso. Our open data project is an El Paso News initiative that makes our data open and accessible to all. In addition to our extensive voter data, our databases include real estate transactions and business ownership including PPP loan information. In the voting realm we have begun matching campaign contributors to the candidates they contribute to and who made the campaign contribution. When this part of our data gathering is complete, El Pasoans will be able to enter a voter’s name and see quickly who they have made campaign contributions to and by how much.

Today’s launch of our voter data is the first step towards bringing our data to everyone for free.

Over the next months we will be adding additional data sets until our complete data is available to everyone.

Go to El Paso Votes to look up your voting record. There is no registration required. If you want to see detailed information or want to search by other parameters, like by a home address, you will need an account. An account is free. During our beta testing phase, we are allowing a limited number of accounts to stress test our infrastructure. If you want an account, simply request one from the home page. Or anyone already on the system can send you an invitation. Be sure to ask family or friends if they have an account on El Paso Votes so that they can send you an invitation.

Once your account is established, we encourage you to send invitations to your family and friends so that they can look up their records and have access to our data.

If you requested an account, look for an email with a link to set your username and password. Don’t forget to check your SPAM folder, or you can whitelist service@elpasovotes.com.

We plan to issue invitations within seven days after you request one. If, after seven days, you have not heard from us, reach out to us at news@elpasonews.org.

Voter Modeling

What can you do with our data is the likely question among our readers. Our voter data not only allows you to quickly look up any El Paso voter, but you can also use the data on each voter to model voting trends on your own. We already do that with our voter modeling and you can see what our modeling says about your likelihood to vote and that of your neighbors.

How does the El Paso News voter modeling work?

El Paso News uses proprietary modeling to identify voters that are most likely to vote in the upcoming elections. Most voters, when asked will say they are voting, but generally do not. As a result, we have developed a model that analyzes several factors to score each voter on how “likely” they are to vote in any upcoming election. Our modeling uses voter data collected by us since 1998. We take the raw voter data and apply a variety metrics to it, (taxes, city manager, guns, etc.) including a voter’s public policy issue(s) they have engaged in through social media or through questionnaires. For example, if a voter has shown an interest in property taxes, we apply that to our modeling. Among other data points we include in our model, includes the age of the voter, when they registered to vote and their demographics.

Our modeling score scores a voter from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the more likely it is that the voter will vote in the next election.

Because issues change overtime, our modeling adds new metrics or updates its metrics in near real time as Election Day gets closer. A voter’s score will often change as our model digests new data.

During the early voting period, our model is updated as voters cast ballots during the early voting period. Our model is validated if a voter who scored high in our model casts a vote during the early voting period and has a history of voting during the early voting period. Likewise, if a voter that scored low in our model casts a ballot, our model checks to see if it is an anomaly or not. If an anomaly is detected, we attempt to identify why new voters are showing up at the polls during the early voting period and update our model accordingly in real time.

What is our model?

Our voter modeling model is a statistical model that estimates a voter’s likelihood of casting a ballot. Among the metrics we include in our modeling includes household income, number of voters in a household, property taxes paid, education and the voting record of similar voters. We also apply data collected from other open sources, like public online posts on issues, professional licenses held, public or private sector employment, criminal and civil cases, and other information like participating in a petition drive or membership in civic organizations. We also include a voter’s campaign contributions overtime to political candidates.

What do we do with our model?

We use our voting scoring model to identify likely voters in an upcoming election. Once we have identified likely voters, we create a sample group of likely voters and ask them to participate in our polling. Our polling sample members all agree to participate in our polling. It is from this sample group that we form predictions about the likely outcome of an election, including voter turnout predictions. As early voting reports are released by the Elections Department, we apply the list to our model to check its validity in real time as the election continues towards Election Day.

Can I be excluded from your modeling?

Our database was first created in 1999 and we have been adding new datapoints as new technology and new datapoints become available. Each election since then has added datapoints to our database.

All our data is public sourced.

Sources for our data include government records, public records and other public data we have collected from numerous sources over the years.

Because our data is all public data, we will not exclude you from our models.

Can I look at my data?

Yes, we allow you to create a free account to look at the voter modeling we have generated for you. With an account, you can perform advanced searches on family, friends and other voters to see their record.

We believe in transparency. With an account, not only can you perform searches on other voters, but you can also see a list of public or other members who have viewed your record. Public viewers are individuals performing searches against our data without creating an account. Because they are not members, we do not know who they are, so they are labeled as a “Public Viewer”.

Public viewers have limited access to the data. What they see is what the Elections Department already makes public. Just enter a search on “Am I Registered?”. You will note that public information delivered by the County of El Paso includes your home address. As a matter of fact, what we show to public viewers is less than what the Elections Department shows publicly. For example, we do not include your full address to a user who is not registered in our system.

When a registered user accesses your record, their name and a link to their voter record will show on your profile.

Do I need to register?

You do not need to register to perform searches against our database. However unregistered users have limited access to voter records and can perform only searches by name.

A registered user has greater access to the voter’s record and can view who is looking at their record. A registered user also has access to more search tools than an unregistered user. For example, a registered user can perform a search on partial names, a house address or other more advanced searches like home ownership, zip codes, or participation in petitions, among other more advanced searches.

We do not charge for an account.

How do I register?

You must be a registered voter to register on our system.

During our beta testing stage, we will be limiting the number of individuals that can register on our system. To request an invitation, click here. Individuals that are registered can send invitations to other voters to allow them to create their own account.

Registration is free.

What if I am not a registered voter?

We are allowing members of the news media and researchers to create accounts on our system. To apply, use this form. Our news media and research accounts allow you to conduct your own polling and voter modeling against our data for news reporting or research purposes.

I am a candidate for office, can I use your system?

Yes, just create an account to use our advanced features.

We are in the Beta testing stage.

Over the next few months, we will be rolling out new features that we will make available to you. You will see an alert when you login letting you know that we have made a new feature available on the system. Our hope is to release all our data to our members in the coming months leading up to the 2024 elections.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

2 replies on “The El Paso Open Data Project Goes Live”

  1. Very interesting, Martin. I too have used statistical modeling (logistic regression, neural net and genetic algorithms) in financial marketing applications. I understand its predictive power and that you don’t need a huge sample set to generate a robust predictive model. But that was in another lifetime. I subscribe to an email list of the Open Knowledge Foundation but don’t take the time to keep up with it. You apparently do.

    What I would like to see is that the City and County expose ALL their data to public inquiry (read only) that should be possible technically and legally. Do-it-yourself mega-FOIA 🙂

    Yeah, sure. In my lifetime.

    1. Hi Jerry, thank you for the comment. Big data is the reason I got into computers after leaving aviation. Of course, it wasn’t known as “big data” at the time as a 10MB hard disk was very expensive. LOL, I just dated myself. As to your point about FOIA requests, one of my goals is to integrate a FOIA tracking system so members can send out requests and catalogue them as they receive the results. Imagine a Wikipedia collecting government records and making them available in a searchable database attached to the individuals connected to the record. A crowd-sourced FOIA initiative would bring transparency pretty quickly.

Comments are closed.