For the past few election cycles PDI has been a leader in providing detailed analysis of votes being cast in statewide, local and special elections. This has become so popular, that about a week ago, just days after absentee ballots dropped, we were getting support calls asking “where’s the tracker!?!”

Well, the tracker is back and for 2018 we are breaking new ground.

California campaigns and consultants have seen our PDI Tableau infographics with nearly 20,000 views of voter universes utilizing these detailed and interactive counts.

We are extending these award winning infographic counts to the tracking of absentee votes, and doing it in innovative ways that should deepen understanding of the absentee ballot returns as they roll in.

There are two versions of the tracker that will be available to the public, and one special version of the Tableau that can be used within the PDI for our clients to directly analyze their voter universes, supporters, and special subgroups of the electorate as they cast ballots.

These are the tools we are proud to be providing to the public:

The mobile tracker
Already our most popular version with twitter and word of mouth generating over 1,500 views. This gives you an interactive tool for tracking absentee votes, formatted for your phone. This version is updated each night (at 4am if you’re already pulling all-nighters on your campaign) and will get some extra updates on days with heavy by-mail voting.

If you see an interesting insight, you can save your view by clicking the “download” to create an image of the view. Perfect for tweeting out or posting online. You can also bookmark this page on your home screen to check it anytime you want. See the mobile tracker on your cellphone here: 

The Desktop Public Tracker
This full version of the tracker allows you to visualize the votes cast with informative graphics of the partisanship, ethnicity and ages of voters who have returned ballots. Within this version there is extra interactivity to select voters who are in each PDI likely voter universe, those who are flagged in the system as early or late absentee voters in past statewide votes, and narrow the analysis to specific ranges of days that ballots were returned.

These public counts are formatted as 8.5×11 documents making them ideal for exporting as a PDF.

The next update to this workbook will be a map layout with a side-by-side comparison of the precinct-level ballots mailed compared to vote returns, with a focus on the partisanship of the vote.

You can check out the desktop version of our Absentee Vote Tracker here:

One feature that many users would like is a comparison to past vote returns. The old absentee ballot trackers can be found in my public Tableau folder, with versions for the 2016 General, 2016 Primary, and 2014 General.

But, looking at these old returns and drawing comparisons to what is happening in 2018 is scary business.

Just one data point that screams for attention: in 2014 there were 8.3 million ballots mailed, compared to 11.1 million this year. That’s a 33% increase.  Some counties, including the fairly large Sacramento and San Mateo counties, are entirely vote-by-mail and vote centers for the first time this year.

And it’s not because more old voters or super-likely turnout voters are becoming absentees, it is being driven by younger voters. In 2018 there are 3.2 million voters under 35 with ballots sitting on their kitchen counters… a whopping 60% of them are vote by mail. That’s a long way from 2014 when only 20% of age 18-35 year olds, roughly one-million, received by-mail ballots.

We will have more on how to interpret the return data as it come in, but, for now, please enjoy a window to the data that is uniquely found with PDI and the envy of every campaign around the country.