Julia Brothers
senior program manager for the Elections team and deputy director of the Open Election Data Initiative
Washington, DC

Julia Brothers is a senior program manager for the Elections team and deputy director of the Open Election Data Initiative at the National Democratic Institute (NDI). She has over 14 years of experience supporting democratic institutions at home and abroad. Ms. Brothers has worked in 17 countries, leading political and security assessments, election monitoring programs, and civic engagement projects, largely in post-conflict or politically transitioning environments. Prior to NDI, she worked for the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Election Initiatives to improve American electoral systems, using research and advocacy to promote state election reform legislation, modernize voter registration and list maintenance processes, and support election data centralization and open data tools. Earlier, she served as a Coordinator for EMILY's List and worked on several state and national political campaigns in the US.

Using Open Data to Verify Information in Elections

The Election Observation Group (ELOG) in Kenya used a unique data entry tool to match observer-captured images to official election documents

The August 2017 presidential election in Kenya was clouded by accusations of fraud and doubts about the accuracy of results posted on the Independent Elections and Boundary Committee (IEBC) website. Some groups alleged that information from the official polling-station-level presidential results forms (Form 34A) posted on the website may have been altered during the transmission of the forms from polling stations to the national level. The Kenyan Supreme Court’s ultimately annulled the August elections and called for a fresh presidential contest in October 2017. To promote accountability and transparency, NDI provided technical assistance to the Elections Observation Group (ELOG) to deploy 766 observers to polling stations across the country to systematically observe the fresh elections. Election observers were also instructed to take pictures of the completed Form 34As at their polling stations and send the images to the organization through designated WhatsApp numbers to verify the credibility of the data. Five-hundred and forty observers submitted clear photos of the Form 34As from the polling stations. With technical support from NDI, ELOG developed an online system to compare these forms with their official online counterpart.

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