Long Tail Election Reporting System

I'm writing this blog on the day of Thailand 2007 General election. There is no conclusion about the next prime minister yet but I have some idea worth for blogging.

Note: This is first and rough draft idea. Need a lot of iteration. Comments are very welcome.

Project Title: Long Tail Election Reporting System


There is no sophisticated online election reporting system available. The primary source for election result is still TV and reported by centralized government body or media empire.

This project proposes an election reporting system which:

  • gather data by massive volunteers, "wisdom of the crowds" aka "long tail" method via proper communication channels
  • represent the election result in online visualized format, which enables more accessibility, comparability and accountability
  • guarantee acceptable level of accuracy
  • highly customizable for various kinds of election, can be easily reuse in different environment

Estimate timeframe: [highly speculated] Thailand General Election in 2009

Estimate cost: N/A


This project can be separated into 2 parts:

  • Data collecting
  • Data representing

Data Collecting

For quality reason, data entry for the system can be combined from:

  1. processed data from the Election Commission or media network (e.g. Nation)
  2. raw data gathered from voluntary grassroots, NGOs or local activist

This project is interested in approach #2. Approach #1 is included for comparative purpose only.

The advantage of grassroots approach:

  • real-time data entry
  • unbiased data, because the final figures will be average. best for poll surveying
  • cost reduction

The volunteer can submit current status in his/her area by any proper communication methods. The most practical method is via SMS. The another one is phone-in IVR system.

The hardest part is how to get volunteer network. The possible solution is joint-project/cooperation with existing NGOs or activist groups.

Possible Issues & Concerns:

  1. Should allow more sophisticated and flexible data entry method in the future. For example, iPhone apps or fully-funtioned laptop applications via WiMax network
  2. SMS data format, should be simple and easy to understand
  3. Should have "ranking system" for each volunteer's past performance, for more data quality and accuracy
  4. Data storage format on data base. Is there any existing XML-derivative format?

Data Representing


  • Web is primary output. Consider TV and prints as secondary/web derivatives
  • Data must be represent in highly interactive map of Thailand
  • Features:
    • Real time data update
    • Visualized comparison by color
    • Timeline and function to replay all events chronologically
    • Differentiation from past elections
  • Multiview:
    • Constituency seats [400]
    • Proportional representation [80]
    • Provincial (for house of senate election)
    • District (for local election, e.g. Bangkok Metropolitan Governor)
    • Another possible segmentation from future constitution
  • Traditional table/chart view is a plus

Implementation Ideas:

  • Two possible solutions:
    • SVG+AJAX
    • Adobe Flash
  • Any web programming language is applicable

Possible Issues & Concerns: * Need 'free' Thailand map in SVG * Possible via vectorization process * Concurrency concern * Highly customizable for future election systems or usage in other countries * Ability to display on modern mobile devices

Project Overview

Possible Use:

  • House of Senate Election (March 2007)
  • Governor of Bangkok Metropolitan Election
  • [highly speculated] Thailand General Election in 2009
  • Election Cheating Reporting System


  • mockup screenshot
  • Investigate possible approach in data collecting - find more partners
  • Design detailed features for data visualization part
  • Find a proper project hosting web site (Google Code?)

Other Notes:

  • Since there are not many elections in each year. The system must be reused as much as possible for development cost-effective issue
  • Investigate best practice from election reporting around the world, especially United States 2008 Presidential Election
  • Should finish and have a real-world test once before Thailand General Election 2009
Submitted bybact'on Mon, 12/24/2007 - 09:38

sms is way way more grassroot.

interesting enough to be an MS dissertation (yours! :P)