The Local Elections in America Project’s mission is to build a data repository for local elections and government that will serve as a critical resource for scholars, practitioners and educators, and ensure researchers, educators, governments and organizations can learn about, analyze, and make informed decisions about local politics and policy.
How do we achieve this mission?
Using innovative software, LEAP collects information on local election results and candidates (including campaign finance and individual-level candidate information such as race, ethnicity, gender, and occupation). All data is organized by geographic location and date, ensuring connectivity to other elections- and candidate-based surveys, and data gathering projects.
In the United States, local governments make up over 99% of all governments: There are nearly 90,000 local governments and more than a half million local elected officials in the United States. In fact, 96% of all elected officials are local officials. At the same time, apart from the Census of Governments, which conducts a study every 5 years to enumerate local governments, there is no other entity that systematically collects or compiles data on what these governments do. This is particularly true when it comes to local election results.
We have been compiling data on local elections, local elected officials, and local governments for over 10 years and have created the most comprehensive and sophisticated database to date. These efforts have been supported with generous funding by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Cyberinfrastructure CF21 Venture Fund and the Division of Social and Economic Sciences, the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology and the School of Social Sciences at Rice University.