Small Donor Elections

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Small Donor Elections
Small Donor Elections Portland.jpg
Small Donor Elections Portland
Team Organizations CIVIC Software Foundation
City of Portland
Team Leaders Susan Mottet
Participating Municipalities Portland OR
Sectors Wellbeing
Status Launched
Last Updated June 25, 2024


The Small Donor Elections program seeks to reduce the influence of money in politics and encourage election of people to City office who are reflective of and accountable to all Portlanders.



Brennan Center for Justice logo.svg


Open Elections Project

This is the main repo for the Open Elections project.

Check out our WIKI for information.

Getting Started

To get this repo running locally you need to have a few dependencies installed.

Local Development

The frontend depends on the backend & database to be up and running in order to be worked on locally. If you want to have hot module reloading, during development you could use Docker with volumes, but starting the Docker services you need and running the node server separately, is likely simpler. Also checkout the [app](/api/ and [api](/api/ Readmes for more info. In general the following command will get all dependencies running with volumes in the foreground:

docker-compose up # add '-d' if you don't want run Docker in detached mode in the background

If you don't want to see local console logs from all running containers, you can add the `-d` flag to run in detached mode. See the Docker documentation for more info.

You can use the following commands to get up and running for frontend development locally:

# start the api and db
docker-compose -f docker-compose-test.yml up api
# then start the frontend serve
cd app
yarn start


If you're starting from scratch, you'll need to create a .env file

touch .env

You'll need a `GOOGLE_GIS_KEY` in order for addresses to be properly geocoded for the public data visualizations.

Pull all the Docker images by running:

docker-compose pull

Build the Docker images by running:

docker-compose build

Start application by running:

docker-compose up

Seeding the Database

We have a set of seed files located in models/seeds, to run them:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-test.yml up
docker-compose run --rm api npm run seed


Use the following steps to run through the jest/mocha tests. You can see the what Travis, the CI/CD tool we are using, runs when a PR is opened against the `develop` branch in `./scripts/`. > Heads up: Make sure after each test you clear the Docker containers (`docker-compose [-f docker-file-name.yaml] down`) or you will probably get `Error: Request failed with status code 403`.

1. Install the app

In the root directory run the following. Note: `-f docker-compose-test.yml` specifies the test Docker.

docker-compose -f docker-compose-test.yml build

In the app directory, you'll have to install the app dependencies (outside of Docker)

cd app
yarn install
2. Then you can run the api in Docker
docker-compose -f docker-compose-test.yml up api
3. Run the Test Suites

Run the api test suite:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-test.yml run --rm api npm test

Run the app test suite:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-test.yml run --rm app yarn test

Run the datascience api test suite:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-test.yml run --rm data make test


If you encounter a particularly common or interesting issue, when trying to get the local environment working, feel free to add the problem / solution here.

Debugging Docker

If you're not sure how to solve a Docker issue, removing all created Docker containers usually is a good place to start:

#The following command will return a list of container ids
docker ps -a # yes docker, not docker-compose
#Use each container id in the following command
docker rm <container-id> -f # remove the container id

If you are seeing pm2 errors when trying to spin up a production container, make the the pm2 version in the Dockerfile matches the node version in the Dockerfile.


This project uses Travis to Continuously deploy to on commits to develop. When you open a PR, Travis will run our test suite, and mark it as passing or failing on the PR at Github. When the PR is merged into develop, and the test suite is passing, Travis will deploy using scripts/