The City Commits- in Writing- to Providing Election Returns for All

On Friday afternoon, the City committed to produce electronic election results for all to see. In her interview with Mike Dunn of KYW, City Solicitor Shelley Smith already said they were going to do this, but, it sure is nice to see it in writing:

The City is currently developing a system to allow the public access to a hosted website where election results will be provided. The plan for the next election in November is to provide near real time summary results and the ability to drill down into election details (ward-by-ward, division-by-division, etc) on this hosted website. Polling data and returns should be updated approximately every 10 to 15 minutes as the returns are verified by the City Commissioners. Furthermore, there will be a link on both the City of Philadelphia's main homepage and the City Commissioner's homepage directing interested users to this hosted website.

And, those treasured passwords will become largely useless for the average person, and will now be strictly restricted:

The system for which you request access to is only equipped to handle 150-200 users at one time. Going forward, access will be strictly limited to employees of the City Commissioners and the personnel from the Department of State. These employees will use the internal system to provide needed returns and data to both the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the new hosted site (explained in detail below). No passwords for this internal system will be provided to anyone outside of this group.

That makes sense, especially from a security perspective.

So, given what they have committed to doing, and the new role passwords will have, the City has en masse denied all the requests for passwords. If you want to appeal, instructions are in the letter. My unsolicited advice though, is to let it be, because this is clearly happening. Yes, there is always a chance something could get screwed up. But, I feel pretty confident that this will all happen. (Next push from an interested party who wants to make a difference: Historical results.)

There are some people in this whole thing who have been really helpful. First, thanks to Jim Kenney, the only Councilperson to quickly respond when this whole saga began, for his help behind the scenes. Having the Mayor jump in was A-OK, too. And, Shelley Smith, the City Solicitor, came out on the side of open government, and forced the hand of the Commissioners, by granting my original appeal. They could have made this harder on us than they did. So, to our friends in the City Solicitor’s Office, sorry for being collective pains in the ass. I wish I could say this is the last you will have to deal with us. But, somehow, I doubt it.

And, of course, a lot of credit for this has to go to Ed Goppelt of Hallwatch. Ed was opening up Philly government before it was cool.

But, most of all, to the 400 or so people who requested passwords, pat yourselves on the back. Publishing election returns will not end poverty in Philadelphia. It will not fix the schools. Hey, for that matter, it won’t bring our troops home from Iraq, either. But it is a basic function of government that should be provided, yet hasn’t been. By November, it appears that will change.

very cool

Congrads to Dan, Jennifer, and everyone else who worked on this campaign. YPP-- the little blog that could!

Check out "It's Our Money"

Oh cool!

That's what we all really wanted: results from the general election!!!!


to clarify my post

I didn't mean to cast aspersions. I am very proud of everyone who worked on this.
Well done!

...I just laughed at the way the post was worded.

It is not about the general

It is not about the general election specifically, it is about changing things going forward.

In any case, I believe that sooner than that, historical data will be exported by the City Commissioners.

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