Data ARE awesome, graphics maybe less so

Doug Chapin just doesn’t have enough snark.

He rightly lauds the District of Columbia’s election office for making detailed early voting information easily accessible.

But then he puts this put this graphic up front: Mike DeBonis?  Ick!   I guess it’s colorful!

DeBonis did a nice job cranking out the figures, but he commits a few mild sins in his presentation. The most common is to express the numbers of early voters are raw numbers rather than percentage of registered voters, but the largest ward has 42% more voters (party registration figures vary even more–by 70%). This makes Ward 2 look like it’s casting fewer early votes, but it is the smallest ward. But using proportions would actually expand some of the differences (DeBonis deserves credit when he compares by party).

But you’d need to take a few more swipes to really show what Doug notes: how early voting varies by “campaign and candidate specific factors.” I think he’s probably right, but as DeBonis notes, early voting can take place at any of eight locations, so the interesting cut here would be to compare the ward of residence with ward of vote. I can’t find the original data on the DCBOEE website to see if that’s possible.