Hundreds of Thousands Seek Election Results… And Get Them

On Nov. 6, a national spotlight shone on Washington State and, more specifically, its largest county by population, King County. Voters were not only deciding on the legalization of gay marriage, but also recreational marijuana use and a very close governor’s race. How did King County Elections’ mobile elections results app, powered by Socrata, perform?

Ask the hundreds of thousands of people following the race who had up-to-date results delivered to their phones and web browsers throughout the evening, without fail.

“At one point in the night we had so much traffic that the main King County site was inaccessible. Fortunately, we were able to send the overflow to our Socrata-hosted site at, which could handle the traffic and give people the results,” says Al Boss, a Web developer on the mobile app project.

Moving Information Faster

Socrata also played a role in the electronic transfer of vote counts to the results website. “We have decades-old ballot-processing machines, and humans review the counts before they’re approved. That process is slow. But, once the results are calculated and approved, we now have a more automatic, more efficient system for uploading them and making them available to the public,” says Boss.

It seems that the open-data expectations of the public have risen dramatically, and so has the percentage of people who want to see the information from a cell phone or other mobile device. “We evolve, or die of irrelevance,” says Boss.

In the meantime, results from the Nov. 6 election will continue to be tabulated until Nov. 26th. Current counts can be found here.

Socrata predicts that by 2014, 30 percent of cities, counties and states will use open data as the default platform for disseminating election results. For now, congrats to King County on a successful election night and we look forward to helping make the next election process even more exciting to watch.

* A look at the King County Elections app seen by users on election night.

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