Local Politics

General Assembly protest methodology

Posted July 19, 2013

Information from the General Assembly protest database was entered manually by WRAL staff members Tyler Dukes and Kelly Hinchcliffe using arrest reports from the City/County Bureau of Identification's Police-to-Citizen website, magistrate's orders from the Wake County Courthouse and information accessed in person from Wake County Courthouse criminal database terminals.

Arrest dates include all Mondays since April 29 with the exception of May 27, since no protest took place because of the Memorial Day holiday. The database also includes arrests from a May Day protest (May 1) and a Witness Wednesday protest (June 12).

All protesters, with the exception of the five individuals arrested May 1, were charged by General Assembly police with second-degree trespass, failure to disperse on command and violating legislative building rules -- all misdemeanors.

Party affiliation data was obtained by matching names, addresses and ages to corresponding fields in the State Board of Elections voter rolls using database software. The remaining names not matched with database software were manually entered using the State Board of Elections' voter lookup site to search for each arrestee's first name, last name and date of birth. Party affiliation was only entered manually if first name, last name and date of birth matched.

Published data on arrested protesters will include the following fields:

  • first name, last name, middle name, suffix
  • arrest date
  • street name, city, state, county, zip code
  • age
  • race
  • gender
  • party

Although this paper trail only accounts for a sample of the total population of protesters, it does provide a quantifiable glimpse into the makeup of the crowd, which Republican leaders have several times derided as outsiders.

Publishing this data gives readers the power to explore the demographics of these protesters. It also allows us to show our work by sharing the information we used to summarize the data and compare them with the overall demographics of North Carolina, according to the U.S. Census and the State Board of Elections.

As the protests and arrests continue, this database and the corresponding statistics will be updated.

Questions? Spot an error? Email reporter Tyler Dukes.

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