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June 05, 2012

So, Why #AOSHQDD ?

On an April night in 2011, I along with dozens of other morons watched the returns for Prosser V Klopp. An AP error did not show the actual totals from Waukesha. All night long we were wondering where the votes were coming from per county.

It was frustrating, but fun to watch.

But I knew we could do better than this.

Starting this year, I began to watch how the AP did with reporting results versus, well, us, just half-assing it. During the recall primary, we out-reported them for several key counties, in some cases an hour ahead. There WAS a way to report results faster.

But it required reliable people, designers, and a battle plan.

The first step was to keep the workload light per "reporter" - no more than 8 counties, or one if that county itself is massive. That way, in addition to reporting the results directly in a collective manner, any individual reporter could check and see WHERE these votes were coming from in their counties. Critical information if you are waiting for Milwaukee county to report and you wonder if the city is all in, or if you are watching Waukesha and waiting for Brookfield.

The next step was finding a way to compile the data in a MEANINGFUL way, which includes comparing results to previous elections. That was as easy as copy-paste, but getting everything to flow smoothly took a man with skill and speed. JohnE, our photoshop extraordinaire, was just such a guy, and has developed the page you will soon be refreshing like a pack of rabid dogs.

The final step? Reporting as thoroughly as possible. We have "reporters" on the state senate races and the Lt Governor race as well, all exchanging information behind the scenes to keep the data flowing.

Big props to Ace for encouraging what may very well be the future of election night reporting: where bloggers can out-report the dinosaurs.

A year ago, I swore there had to be a better way.

In 30 minutes, you will see just that.

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posted by CAC at 07:26 PM

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