Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the data collected from?

This data comes from the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ public data files that are available online.

Most of the Board’s voter records and voter history files are available here, and it provides some snapshots of historical voter registration files here.

Voter demographics aggregated by precinct going back to 1998 are available here.

Current geographic data are here and shapefiles of old precinct maps are available here.

Election results are here.

What are the identifiers for individual voters?

When voters register they are given a state-wide unique identifier that the Board of Elections calls an “ncid”. In addition, the public voter files include information about each voter and that voter’s participation in individual elections. You can see what public information is available about each registered voter here.

Can you tell who they voted for?

No. Section 163-165.1(e) of the North Carolina General Statutes says that “records of individual voted ballots shall not be disclosed to members of the public in such a way as to disclose how a particular voter voted, unless a court orders otherwise.” Knowingly disclosing that information is a misdemeanor.

How far back does the voter registration go?

We began collecting and storing voter registration data in the summer of 2017. The Board of Elections has single-day snapshots of voter registration on specific days going back to Nov. 25, 2005. Demographics of registered voters that are aggregated by precinct are available going back to 1998 and aggregated by county going back to 1993.

Who is funding this project?

This project is funded by the Knight Foundation as part of its News Challenge grant program.

Can we use this data for our publication?

Please do! It’s public information and the goal of our project is to increase knowledge about voting and elections in North Carolina. If you are using data directly from the Board of Elections website, you should cite that as your source. If you are using data that came from our site, or any other site, you should cite that website as your source.

What information is available?

To aid in the correct use and understand of the public data it makes available, the Board publishes descriptions of the data it collects. For example, you can see the information they have about voters here and about specific election results here.

Can this tool be used as a predictive method?

Yes. Like any data, predictive analytics can be applied to the data we are collecting. However, all predictive models come with myriad limitations and caveats.