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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Six New Ways to Visualize Hawaii Campaign Spending Data
By Selected News Articles @ 2:11 AM :: 4981 Views :: Office of Elections

Six New Ways to Visualize Hawaii Campaign Spending Data

Coders and engaged citizens develop user-friendly apps just in time for election season

From Transform Hawaii Government June, 2014

In an effort to help build an understanding of campaign spending data and the political process, Civic Celerator recently unveiled six new web applications that allow citizens to view important information in a user-friendly way.

By leveraging open data made available by the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, Civic Celerator, in partnership with Common Cause Hawaii and Hawaii Open Data, held a series of workshops and events earlier this year to develop the data visualization apps. The series culminated with a demo day in which teams showcased their exciting projects to a panel of judges.

The new apps allow residents to locate their voting precincts, learn how lawmakers are utilizing their campaign funds, search for donor history and more. By arming voters with information, Civic Celerator hopes to encourage citizens to participate and engage in the upcoming elections.

The new apps join the Data Visualization Application launched last December by the Campaign Spending Commission. Check out the new apps here and learn more about one particular app, Funding a Campaign, below.

App Spotlight: Funding a Campaign

Data visualization tool organizes fundraiser data

Funding a Campaign for Hawaii State Legislature, an easy to use web application designed by developer Ben Trevino and his team, allows users to sort through and digest four years worth of Hawaii campaign finance and fundraiser filings.

Clicking on specific precincts reveals the House and Senate races for that area, organized by candidate and election period. The data visualization tool also provides a detailed look at contributions made to each election race and even discloses the amount, contributor and date of the donation.

Trevino chose to organize the data around individual races to better relate to votersʻ interests. "People can recognize their own candidates, perhaps remember specific races or recognize contributors that have an interest in their region," he said in a recent conversation with Transform Hawaii Government.

Throughout the development process, the team encouraged public feedback to gain a greater understanding of community concerns and to ensure broad appeal. "It's motivating to get a great request or suggestion from a member of the public that is using the app to answer an important question," said Trevino.

To check out the new app and submit comments, questions or feature requests, visit http://uhero.github.io/civic_celerator/.

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