Building Open Access to NC Campaign Finance Data — Introduction

Crossroads CX
3 min readJan 6, 2022

Hello and welcome! This post will be the first of a blog series detailing a project that we at Crossroads have been building toward for a while — creating a modern, robust, publicly available way to access North Carolina campaign finance data that is free and easy to use. With the help of the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation, we now have what we need in order to build out the initial stages of our goal. In addition to the foundations above, we also need to thank the NC State Board of Elections for building the infrastructure to host all of the data we’ll be working with. Without their considerable efforts, this project would be impossible.

As I mentioned above, our primary goal is to make it easier to access and understand this data. This begs a few questions:

Why do this?

  • Transparency in campaign finance is important. We want to make it easier to understand who is spending money on what within the state of North Carolina. At a high level, this impacts the leadership and legislation within the state. Because of this, it impacts the daily lives of all North Carolina citizens. We want to make sure that anyone impacted (read: everyone) can easily see just what’s going on.

What does your solution provide that doesn’t already exist in the NCSBE platform?

  • The platform built by NCSBE is an excellent way of storing data, and is very useful in finding transactions for an individual committee or campaign. It gets a bit trickier when you’re trying to answer bigger picture questions. We’ll be providing visual analytics to help show patterns and trends in campaign finance spending. Rather than seeing that ABC PAC has donated $5,000 to John Smith’s campaign this year, we’ll also be able to see how much they donated last year as a comparison, who else ABC PAC donates to, who else is donating to John Smith’s campaign, and much more.
  • As part of the process, we’ll be doing a considerable amount of data transcribing (for non-digital reports) and data cleansing, making sure we’re working with the most accurate data we can. In addition to the visualizations, we’ll also be providing access to the raw data in case you’d like to do some analysis of your own.

How are you going to do this?

  • This is the point of this blog series — to detail how we’re building this platform as we build it. We’ll be updating periodically over the coming months as we make further progress. In the next post, we’ll give a broad strokes outline of our plan as it currently stands. We’ll then continue to provide updates over the coming months as milestones are reached.

I have questions/comments/concerns about the project — how do I get in touch?

  • I’m glad you asked! We’re building the entire project as open source. If you’re unfamiliar with this approach, this blog post gives a quick overview of what that means in layman’s terms, but when you boil it down it just means anyone will be able to look at and contribute to the code we’re building (all of the code is here!). So if you’d like to make a comment, ask a question, submit an issue, or just get in touch, feel free to create an issue in the Github repository (if you’re unfamiliar with Github, here’s a quick overview for non developers).
  • One thing to note — while we are technologists by trade, we know that not everyone in this space is. That’s ok — Github is open to anyone, and while it may look a bit intimidating, submitting an issue is pretty straightforward. Please be as descriptive as you can, and check back in as we have updates or questions.
  • Or if you’d prefer, you can always reach out to us directly via email!

We look forward to building this project (we’ve had a great start so far) and to the challenges ahead. Keep an eye out for our next blog post coming soon to give a brief overview of our plan of action.



Crossroads CX

CrossroadsCX is a boutique consultancy that uses modern technologies to create exceptional experiences for our clients.