Unleashing the Potential of Election Data


Section 4: Open Election Data in Practice: Examples from Latin America

Costa Rica

Election cycle assessed: February 2, 2014 Legislative, Presidential and Gubernatorial Elections and Presidential Second Round on April 6, 2014.

Electoral management body processes -- Budget and expenditures: Costa Rica's Superior Tribunal of Elections (TSE) provides detailed, granular budget and expenditure data by year. Data is provided in various levels of granularity (summary level and detailed line item level) in a non-proprietary but not analyzable format (PDF). Particularly notable is that the TSE provides data that tracks budgeted amounts versus expenditures, which is rare among countries in the region.

Electoral management body processes -- election observation organizations: Costa Rica is one of, if not the best example in Latin America of providing open data on election observation organizations. Regarding international observers, Costa Rica provides the total number and name of each accredited international observation organization, as well as the number of observers for which each organization requested (which is rarely provided by other countries) and received accreditation. One drawback is that the data is only provided in HTML tables, so it is not analyzable.

Polling stations: Costa Rica provides a complete list of all polling stations for bulk download in a non-proprietary -- but not analyzable -- format (PDF). The list includes several geographic levels, as well as the unique code and address of each polling station.

Electoral complaints, disputes and resolutions: Costa Rica has developed three ways of obtaining data on electoral complaints and resolutions, which, taken as a whole, help make this data open.

  • Users can search for and obtain the official resolution document in PDF for individual cases (primary level data) via a search platform.
  • Another web page allows users to download in a non-proprietary format (ZIP) the complete set of resolution documents (one document per resolution) for each year. The data is provided at the primary (case) level, but it is not analyzable, since each case document is a PDF file.
  • A third web page provides a PDF document (non-proprietary but not analyzable) that contain overall statistics on resolutions for each year and type of case.

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