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Turning Voter Rolls into Voter Files: Digitizing the California Great Registers

A talk by Bradely Spahn, "Turning Voter Rolls into Voter Files: Digitizing the California Great Registers"
Data-driven methods have come to dominate political inquiry about the present, but quantitative analysis of the past is necessarily limited by the data that was preserved at the time. By digitizing paper records from the past, we are able to create new data to be analyzed, and revisit long unsettled questions in political science. Through a partnership with, and in collaboration with Stanford Librarian Kris Kasianovitz and the California State Library we digitized and created machine-readable versions of the California Great Registers, which are detailed voter rolls spanning the first half of the twentieth century in California. The Registers contain the names, occupations and party affiliations for every voter in California from 1900-1944. This unique dataset is being brought to bear on questions about what happened when women and Asians were given the vote, how the New Deal realignment occurred in the voting public, how partisan segregation came about in California and how families came to share a party affiliation. Spahn will discuss how the data is being cleaned and how the data is analyzed to account for errors in scanning and parsing the data. The benefits of having a multi-disciplinary team will be discussed. Bradley Spahn is a PhD Candidate in the Stanford Department of Political Science.



Friday, October 21, 2016. 04:00 PM


Green Library, Room 121A, Bing Wing


Stanford University Libraries, Graduate School of Business Library, Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education


This talk is part of the Gear Up for Social Science Data Extravaganza, taking place in Green Library on Oct. 21st. It is open to the public.