• County X contains some but not all of Congressional Districts 1, 2, and 3.
  • County X contains no entire Congressional Districts fully within its borders.

What I want to know:

The overall voting behavior (e.g. Red or Blue) for House of Representatives in County X. For instance, Districts 1, 2, and 3 might be solidly Blue on the whole, but the County X portion of each District might be bright Red, especially with severe Gerrymandering.

I would like to know the overall HoR voting behavior for County X which requires counting only the ballots for each of races 1, 2, and 3 that were filled out County X residents.

This means that the ballots for this race record the voter's county. Is this done? I have had an astonishingly hard time finding the answer because I don't know how to word it concisely.

1 Answer 1


You would want to look at precinct votes for County X. In the United States, Precincts are the smallest possible political division, and are below county level government. They are important in that precincts will encompass a specific area or population size that typically will repersent an average of 1,100 voters (with the largest Precincts in Washington D.C. (2,704 voters per) and the smallest being Kansas (437 voters per) County X will thus be divided into Precincts that are entirely contained within the bounds of County X and voters may be asked to vote for a representative in Districts 1, 2, and 3. Suppose we want to know who voted for the Representative of State Alpha's First U.S. Congressional District in County X. We can find this number by totaling up the number of people per Precinct plus the number of Precincts that correspond to both County X and District 1 and then splitting that total by the percent.

If we suppose that State Alpha has the exact average, and County X's District 1 territory has five precincts, and we would want to total up the number of votes for Rep Blue (B). Assuming perfect turn out, then we would get the equation where P_y equals the percentage (in decimal notation) for the Precinct Y (1-5).

B = (P_1 * 1100) + (P_2 * 1100) +... (P_5 * 1100).

To assume imperfect turn out (or inability to find a state's precinct of voters) one would use each precincts total voter turn out (v_y) for the equation:

B = (P_1 * V_1) + (P_2 * V_2) +... (P_5 * V_5).

  • Thanks for this answer. But do precincts overlap multiple counties? If so, I still don't understand how I'll be able (if at all) to get county-specific data.
    – JClaussFTW
    Oct 24, 2019 at 4:25
  • 1
    @JClaussFTW: No, precincts are a sub-county division of government and are entirely internal to a county. In the U.S., they are the smallest possible government and political division of power. To get the data, you would need to find which precincts are in your district search, and then request the records for votes for a given election year for those precincts (in the U.S., voting is run by the State, usually by the State's Department of State, though for a specific answer you should probably list the state you are looking for.). +
    – hszmv
    Oct 24, 2019 at 11:01
  • @JClaussFTW: While the ballots are secret, counting ballots is open to any observer (there was a minor rebellion over this when former WWII vets running on anti-corruption platforms learned some ballot boxes were being counted in secret.). You should be able to find out the total number of votes and the total number of votes for all candidates at the precinct level easy, albeit, there might need to be a FOIA request to your state for the data and that'll move at the speed of government.
    – hszmv
    Oct 24, 2019 at 11:06

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