Why This is Important
Participation of registered voters in general elections reflects one of the primary activities of civic engagement. There are many reasons voters may or may not participate in a general election (which occurs every four years and includes the election of a presidential candidate). At its root, where a voting age population exists this measurement reflects the degree of community engagement in our electoral process and the perception that it is meaningful in the lives of community members.
About the Data
The Board of Elections codes voters 'inactive' when their most recent address may be inaccurate. Due to the potentially inaccurate addresses of inactive voters, the spatial analysis for 2012 relied only on the active voters. For the 2012 general election, there were 175,721 active voters as compared with 212,654 total registered voters in Durham County.
In order to have data which is comparable with commonly-reported voter participation statistics, metric values are scaled so that the total number of registered voters and total number of ballots cast line up with the values reported by the Durham County Board of Elections. So, for example, for the 2012 Presidential General Election, we multiplied our calculated value for number of ballots cast per blockgroup (which only included geocodable addresses) by 1.073 to account for the fact that the Board of Elections final count of ballots cast was 147,497 but the Compass geocoded values only accounted for 137,455 ballots, and we similarly scaled our values for registered voters by 1.21 to account for the fact that we only had valid geocodes of 175,721 voters, where the Board of Elections had 212,654 voters registered.
Sources: Durham County Board of Elections and Redistricting Data Hub