Core repo for election results data acquisition, transformation and output.
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Open Elections core code

Core repo for election results data acquisition, transformation and output.

OpenElections core is developed and tested using Python 2.7.*. The package might not work with older or newer Python distributions.

Getting started as a developer


  • set up a virtual environment
  • fork/clone this repository, install dependencies
  • add any optional configuration details you need (e.g. Mongo or AWS)

Setting up a virtual environment

You should use virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper to work on Open Elections inside a virtualized development environment.

The easiest way is to install these tools system-wide with pip (you may need to use sudo):

$ pip install virtualenv
$ pip install virtualenvwrapper

Then, to make a virtual environment called openelex for open elections work:

$ mkvirtualenv openelex

If your terminal is unable to find mkvirtualenv, you may need to add the script to your .bashrc (probably in /usr/bin/ or /usr/local/bin):

$ echo 'source "/usr/bin/"' >> ~/.bashrc

This will automatically activate the openelex environment. To turn it on for future sessions:

$ workon openelex

Fork and set up this project

Fork this repo by hitting the "Fork" button above, and clone your fork to your computer:

$ git clone[my_github_user]/openelections-core.git
$ cd openelections-core

Turn on your virtual environment from the previous step, if you haven't already:

$ workon openelex

Then install the openelex package in editable mode

$ pip install -e .

Create a file.

$ cp

At the very least, you'll want to make sure the values in the MONGO variable work for the way you've installed and configured MongoDB on your system.

You can put this settings file anywhere on your filesystem. You'll need to set the OPENELEX_SETTINGS environment variable to the absolute path to the file that you created.

You'll probably want to add a line to the postactivate script ($VIRTUAL_ENV/bin/postactivate) in your virtualenv to set the OPENELEX_SETTINGS environment variable.

Running management commands

Test it out by running openelex --help, you should see something like:

$ openelex --help
Usage: openelex [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

  --help  Show this message and exit.

  bake.election_file             Write election and candidate data with on...
  bake.results_status_json       Output a JSON file describing available...
  bake.state_file                Write election and candidate data along
  cache.clear                    Delete files in state cache diretory
  cache.files                    List files in state cache diretory
  datasource.elections           List elections for a state.
  datasource.filename_url_pairs  List mapping of standard filenames to
  datasource.mappings            List metadata mappings for a state
  datasource.target_urls         List source data urls for a state
  fetch                          Scrape data files and store in local file...                       Load cached data files into the database              Populate metadata in database from fixture...
  publish                        Publish baked result files
  shell                          Open a Python shell, bootstrapping the...
  transform.list                 Show available data transformations
  transform.reverse              Reverse a previously run transformation                  Run data transformations
  validate.list                  Show available validations for state                   Run data validations for state

Running commands looks something like this:

$ openelex cache.clear --state=NY
0 files deleted
0 files still in cache

You can also get help on particular commands, e.g. openelex --help cache.clear.

Configuring services (optional)

If you are going to load results, you need to configure MongoDB connections in openelex/

If you are a core contributor who needs to publish baked results to one of the GitHub repositories, you will need to define further settings.

To set GitHub credentials, you must first create a personal access token and then uncomment and set these values in openelex/


Install MongoDB (optional)

You only need to install MongoDB if you plan to write data loaders.

To store your data in MongoDB, you need only install Mongo. The default configuration should auto-create the databases and tables you need, as you need them.

Load party and office metadata (optional)

You only need to do this if you plan to write data loaders or transforms.

$ cd openelex
$ openelex --collection=office
$ openelex --collection=party