How open is each countries electoral boundary data? Census running to find out!

Hello open Knowledge community!

Do you know a bit about the location (and licensing) of electoral data files for one or a variety of countries?

An Open Data Census has been launched to find out the locations of the digital files that hold electoral boundaries, for every country in the world…

Some countries are doing very well at sharing these data files, but others not so. …The organisation I work with (mySociety) think these files should be open and accessible, as they are an essential piece of the data needed for online tools, like parliamentary monitoring site and campaigning!

So if you can help at all, or it has sparked some thoughts, please get in touch :slight_smile:



Hi, @GeorgieBurr!

I’d be glad to contribute, but the site requires that users login with either Google or Facebook. I have never had a Facebook account and don’t want to use a Google account I intend to gradually stop using.

So here’s what I know about the election boundaries of Brazil.

The boundaries used for elections are the same as the administrative boundaries. There are three levels of administration - and thus of elections - in Brazil:

  • federal
  • state
  • municipal

The national map that is also used in the Open Data Index does contain all of these administrative boundaries. The same dataset can also be found at the national open data portal.

In the federal level elections, there are three types of positions that candidates run for:

  • President of the Republic (Presidente da República)
  • Senator (Senador)
  • Federal Representative (Deputado Federal)

For President of the Republic the vote count is direct, possibly in two rounds, and take into account the pool of all national votes. The other ones have a single turn. In each election, either 1 or 2 Senators are elected per State, alternatively. For Representatives, there is a complex rule that take into account the number of votes to a party and coalitions, but votes are also counted by state.

The state level has elections for:

  • State Governor (Governador de Estado)
  • State Representative (Deputado Estadual)

The municipal elections are for:

  • Mayor (Prefeito)
  • City Council Member (Vereador)

In all cases the votes are counted from residents registered within the respective administrative boundary (state or municipality). All rules are written in the Constitution of 1988 (an English translation is available). More information is also available in English at the Superior Electoral Court’s website.

Note: I’ve made myself a loose translation to English of the names of the official positions. These translations might not be accurate or have a direct relation to similarly named positions in other countries.

I had always thought countries that had electoral boundaries different from the administrative boundaries, such as the U.S., were exceptions, not the rule. It seems so much more direct and simple. Also, it leaves little room for Gerrymandering.

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Hi Hermann

Thanks for your offer of help, and such a great explanation of Brazilian elections at each level :slight_smile: .

Second, sorry for the delay in replying, we’re new to the OKFN network and weren’t as aware of the forum as we should be.

I will add the data sources you refer to so you don’t need to sign up.

If you’re interested in what we’re doing with the data let us know and we tell you more, we’ve recently been working on Brazil, so this might be interesting.


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Hi, Will.

Sure, by all means, please tell me about what you’ve been working on Brazil.

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