A recent Carter Center blog post entitled “Carter Center on Leading Edge of Technology Use in Election Observation” discusses their use of Open Data Kit:
The Carter Center is pioneering new technology that allows observations from polling stations across a country to be transmitted to headquarters immediately, allowing a richer picture of an election to emerge in real time – key to being able to determine quicker if an election is credible.
As the international community looks to observer organizations to determine if elections in highly contested, tense environments can be trusted, such quick analysis is key.
“This new technology takes us to the next step of election observation,” said David Carroll, director of the Carter Center’s Democracy Program. “The scope of data that we can meaningfully analyze quickly has exponentially increased.”
Each team of election monitors is issued a handheld tablet that runs an open-source data collection application called Open Data Kit, developed at the University of Washington.
The monitors take detailed notes using the tablets at each polling station they visit on election day and send it back to Carter Center headquarters – information such as if the polling station opened on time, if the station has all needed materials for voting and counting, if there is illegal campaigning outside a station, and if voters are being intimidated in any way.