“The McCourt School was the obvious choice for us, with its emphasis on data and ethics and its community of students drawn to Washington, and we’re excited to help the School build out its election programming and experiential learning in election-focused data science,” said Scott Tranter, director of data science at DDHQ.
“There aren’t many issues more pressing right now than the need to strengthen confidence in democratically held elections, especially through transparency and education about how votes are counted and how winners are declared. That’s what DDHQ is committed to, and we can’t wait to get started.”
For more than a decade, DDHQ has used technology to improve the speed and lower the cost of collecting election returns and accurately project election outcomes. It was the first decision desk to call the presidency for Donald Trump in 2016 and for Vice President Joe Biden in 2020, and the first to call control of Congress in 2022.
The McCourt School will welcome DDHQ’s analysts to its new home on Georgetown’s Capitol Campus in time for Super Tuesday on March 5. The DDHQ team, which will include fellows and interns from Georgetown, will then cover every election night from the Capitol Campus.
“As voters head to the polls in primary and general contests across the country this year, McCourt students will have a front-row seat to the results, in real-time,” said McCourt School Dean Maria Cancian. “We are excited to partner with Decision Desk HQ, to bring the energy of election nights to the McCourt School’s new state-of-the-art building on Capitol Hill and provide our students with an invaluable learning opportunity in elections and data science — not to mention, a chance to be part of history.”
As part of the partnership, DDHQ is seeking interested McCourt School and other Georgetown students for paid positions on its 2024 Election Night remote monitoring team. Hired students will work with DDHQ’s vote-collection experts to gather and report results for every federal, state, county and municipal primary and general election contest in the country.
McCourt School student Amelia Minkin (MPP’24) is already working with DDHQ as a data fellow, developing electoral forecasts and other analyses in support of election-night race-call operations. “Joining the DDHQ team has been an incredible learning opportunity that has given me new insight into how data science can guide public service and public policy,” she said.
As members of the McCourt School community, the DDHQ team will also partner with Georgetown faculty and researchers to integrate their work into coursework and engage with Georgetown’s Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) on programming, including through election night watch parties on Georgetown’s Hilltop Campus.
“So many students come to Georgetown because of the opportunities they can get only in the heart of the nation’s Capital. Much of our work focuses on giving them access to political practitioners and leaders in the field, like those at DDHQ, so that they can see in real-time the professional application of their education,” said Mo Elleithee, founding executive director of GU Politics.
“This partnership further demonstrates the McCourt School’s commitment to bringing together academia and practitioners to benefit the entire Georgetown community.”