A Throwback to Prior Kenyan Elections

Kenya presently waits for the results of its presidential election, one that pitted incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta against Raila Odinga, a many ran but never won candidate. Now, if you will indulge me, the Kenyan elections have interested me since December 2007, which if you recall provoked sectarian violence to break out across the country.

At the time I had just started working at my undergraduate thesis, a book using Fareed Zakaria’s Future of Freedom as the text (with a parallel narrative from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart) and I wanted to use specific case studies and data to add to the point of the book. Kenya with its election result data and horrific outcome allowed me to do just that. I juxtaposed awful images of that violence with quiet text and a full-page graphic of the results. I still find it one of the stronger spreads in the book, but as we await the results in Kenya, I am hoping that a ten-year anniversary piece will not be required.

The page of data visualisation
The page of data visualisation

And yes, I have learned a lot since 2007. Including my deep-seated antipathy for pie charts.

Credit for the piece goes to a much less knowledgable me.

Covering the New York Mayoral Primaries

Tuesday was election day in New York (among other places) where voters went to the polls for the mayoral primary (among other positions). For those living underneath what I can only presume was a very comfortable rock, this is the whole Anthony Weiner comeback election. Anyway, a bunch of different websites, most tied to the New York area, were covering the election results. So I wanted to share just a few.

First we have the Huffington Post with the most straightforward presentation. Their table covers the main candidates and their results at a borough level and at a city-wide level.

The Huffington Post's tabular results
The Huffington Post’s tabular results

The second is from the Wall Street Journal. This uses a choropleth map with different colours assigned to a select few persons running—also the only ones with a real chance of winning. Tints of these colours in each district indicate how much of the district has voted.

The Wall Street Journal reports at the district level
The Wall Street Journal reports at the district level

From WNYC we have our third example—another choropleth where different colours represent different candidates. However, unlike the Wall Street Journal, the colours here have only one tint. And instead of showing assembly districts, WNYC provides a further level of data and looks at precinct results. It does not represent the amount of the precinct that has voted, but rather whether the candidate is winning by a plurality or by a majority. Beneath the legend a second charting element is used; this details the breakdown of the vote by districts as separated into racial majority. This is an interesting addition that hints at filtering results by related data.

WNYC looks at who's winning and how
WNYC looks at who’s winning and how

And that filtering brings us to the New York Times’ piece, which does offer filtering. It highlights districts on its maps—also precinct-level and not district aggregates—based upon the metric and the specific properties of said metric. In this case, I have chosen income. And the story of different voting patterns (at this particular point in the evening) based on income is quite clear. Look at Christine Quinn’s support.

Results from people earning more than $100k
Results from people earning more than $100k
Votes from people earning less than $100k
Votes from people earning less than $100k


Credit for these:

Huffington Post: Aaron Bycoffe, Jay Boice, Andrei Scheinkman, and Shane Shifflett

Wall Street Journal: the Wall Street Journal’s graphics team

WNYC: Steven Melendez, Louise Ma, Jenny Ye, Marine Boudeau, Schuyler Duveen, Elizabeth Zagroba, and John Keefe

New York Times: New York Times’ graphics department

Ye Olde Boston Mayoral Candidate Map

A map? Again? I know. But trust me, this one is interesting. For those of you who do not know, Boston’s Thomas Menino is not running for reelection this year. By the time he leaves office, he will have been the mayor of Boston for over twenty years and so this year is the first open election in a long, long time.

So what’s better than graphics for election-related data? Graphics with a medieval/Renaissance/fiefdom aesthetic, that’s what. With a little bit of fun, the Boston Globe mapped out the local areas of strength for the 12 candidates for mayor. The residence of each is denoted by a castle keep while areas of strength, location of donors, and key voting areas are signified in different colours. And the map’s background? Well, you can see for yourself.

Boston mayoral candidate map
Boston mayoral candidate map

Credit for the piece goes to Alvin Chang, Andrew Ryan, Javier Zarracina, and Matt Carroll.

Elections in Mali

For those of you who did not know, the country of Mali held elections yesterday and results should be forthcoming. Those of you who regularly read or semi-frequently check my blog, you are likely familiar with the work I did covering the French-led intervention in Mali. I am a bit busy working on some other projects, so I did not have the time to prepare a graphic for the election as I had hoped. Nor did many others. Alas, the only graphic I have come upon is from Al Jazeera. And it is a mess.

Mali's election
Mali's election

That map only shows the provinces; the colours signify nothing. Nor is there any context for the factettes on the side. And while perhaps the intention was to show Mali in a snapshot, I think a piece about the challenges facing Mali could delve a bit into forecasted statistics. I credit the team behind the project with attempting to cover the story, but aside from biographies on the four leading candidates and overviews of the main militant groups, the piece lacks depth and substance.

Ultimately, after looking at the work, I am left wanting more. A lot more.

Credit for the piece goes to Alia Chughtai and Jacob Powell.

Election Stuff You Might Have Missed

The United States is not the only country in the world to have an election this November. It isn’t even the only big country. China is/had elections to replace the top leadership in Beijing. That’s right, it’s that about that time once every ten years when the Chinese political leadership is replaced.

The Wall Street Journal had a nice interactive piece introduced with an animated video explaining just how the Chinese political system works. Or at least how we think it works. It’s not an entirely transparent system. Though as Americans have discovered lately, the transparency in seeing how large pieces of legislation are conceived, written, and passed is not necessarily a good thing.

Along with the diagram of the system, the piece offers photos and brief biographies for the presumed front runners. The “winners” of the elections should be announced sometime Thursday. Along with the new leaders, the Communist Party may also reduce the Politburo Standing Committee from nine members to seven members for more efficient governing. But nobody knows. We’ll see Thursday.

The 18th Party Congress
The 18th Party Congress