Data Tiers

BallotReady has introduced a 4-tier system for organizing and prioritizing data collection efforts. 

These tiers are ordered based on (1) visibility of a given race, and (2) the level of resources required to produce accurate data.

Depending on when you are using the API, the depth and breadth of available data will vary. Please contact us via our support form if you have questions regarding coverage. 


Federal Races (Tier 1):

  • All elected federal positions, i.e. POTUS, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senate positions. There are the fewest races in this category, but candidate research takes extra planning and time because there is so much information available online.

State Level Races (Tier 2):

  • Positions:
    • State constitutional offices (Gov, treasurer, etc)
    • State house and senate races
    • State Boards and Regional positions/boards organized and run by a state entity (e.g. Natural Resources Board, State Board of Education, Texas Railroad Commission)
    • Judicial offices that are circuit level court or above. (state supreme court, appellate court, and circuit court positions. 
    • District Attorneys and District judges that represent more than one county are also included)
  • Measures: 
    • Statewide measures, including nonbinding advisory ballot measures, are classified as Tier 2. Statewide ballot measures are ones where the entire universe of voters in a given state are eligible to vote on the issue. We'll use Secretary of State material where possible as many states put extensive effort into comprehensive analysis of the issues as they relate to the state ecosystem. 
    • Specifically, BallotReady voter guides will show:
      • The official measure text
      • Official summary from the Secretary of State 
      • What a yes vote means and what a no vote means
      • Opinion text about the measure from major news sources
      • Major donors and endorsements

County and Major Municipal Races (Tier 3):

  • Positions:
    • All county level races (including county court judge)
      • Includes both countywide positions and positions that are a subdistrict of the county (e.g. county commissioner districts, county constable districts).
    • Municipal races where municipality is above 50K  (including municipal court judge)
    • DOES NOT include special districts, even if available on the county or municipal candidate list.
  • Measures:
    • BallotReady will include all county measures, including advisory ballot measuresCounty measures will include the name and measure text as it appears on the ballot. Critically, they are measures where everyone in the county is eligible to vote on that measure.
      • County measures typically cover standard topics ranging from bond issuance to charter amendments. 
    • BallotReady will cover all citywide local measures for cities above 50,000 including the measure text as it appears on the ballot. Critically, these are measures where everyone in the city (not just a specific subset or subdistrict) is eligible to vote on that measure.

Down Ballot Races (Tier 4):

  • Positions:
    • Municipal races where municipality is below 50k
    • School board races - note: school boards are a type of special districts and they account for most special districts in our database
    • Special districts - note: special districts are their own entities, with their own taxation areas and are separate from city and county government. They usually have boundaries that are at least slightly different from a municipality or county. Sometimes special districts have names which make them sound like they are part of city or county government. For example, Elmhurst City Park Board (which is actually not part of the city government!)
    • Township races (county subdivisions)
  • Measures:
    • BallotReady will cover all citywide local measures for cities below 50,000 including the measure text as it appears on the ballot. Critically, these are measures where everyone in the city (not just a specific subset or sub district) is eligible to vote on that measure. 
    • BallotReady will also include all school board ballot measuresCritically, these are measures where everyone in the school district (not just a specific subset or sub district) is eligible to vote on that measure. 
    • Measures not covered at all by BallotReady include special district ballot measures and precinct or ward level ballot measures.

What Tier 4 does NOT include:

  • Precinct committee people 
  • Party specific positions - for example Mitchell County Democratic Chair
  • Any race not run by a board of election - for example school board elections in Chicago are run by Chicago Public Schools.
  • Precinct Level Ballot Measures

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