Data matching and linkage with ethnic data
Our project’s goal is to better understand the linkage and matching problem in political data, in which algorithmic biases against non-Anglicized names makes it more difficult for ethnic names to be properly matched against the voter file.
There are many ethnic communities who either do not conform to a traditional “first name / last name” convention, possess diacritical marks like accents, or are rooted in non-Latin alphabets like Arabic or Chinese which necessitates correct usage of tones. While many people in those communities may have an Anglicized or shorthand nickname of their given name for official records, we know that this is less true in foreign-born and immigrant communities.
Our project examines the tradeoff involved in the matching and linking process in which individual records from disparate databases are linked together, for the purposes of political and civic engagement. We offer a short-term solution in the creation of an open-source Github repository, in which a “data dictionary” of common cultural names can be matched.
We understand that the long-term goal of this work is to build a radically inclusive tech ecosystem. A more cultured and linguistically informed voter file is only one step in that direction, and we know that there are several pathways possible towards that future.
Tatiana Nobels Lee (she/her) returned to VOCAL-NY in February 2021 as the Data Manager where her primary responsibilities involve database management, training, and working with the organizing team to improve & develop data systems. She previously held several administrative and operations roles at the organization from 2012-2016. Tatiana is a native of The Bronx, NY and now lives near Seattle, WA with her husband and recently adopted dog.
Tim Phan is a data analyst from Los Angeles who works in political campaigns. He most recently managed a city council race in Los Angeles in 2022, and has also worked in Democratic / advocacy organizations in previous cycles. He’s quite passionate about house music and activist photography.