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Lance Robinson is a software engineer in Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and surrounding areas. More about Lance.

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In a recent post, I commented how it would be awesome if there was an API for the United States Congress.

I spoke to Lisa Coligan, National Director at Project Vote Smart, and asked her if they had any plans for an open API. Somewhat surprisingly, her answer was yes! Lisa says that vote-smart.org does "not currently have API but we're planning to in the future. We won't have it in time for 2006 elections but we hope to have it up and in place well before the 2008 elections."

Now that would be really cool. How much could voter awareness and participation improve if some creativity and web 2.0 goodness were applied to this data? Here are a few ideas:

  • Dynamic RSS feeds that return the votes of the entire senate/house or just a specific congress-person.
  • Plug-ins for MySpace, Google personalized homepage, Live.com, etc.
  • Social sites that measure how well a particular congress-person is representing their constituency (at least the part that is represented on the site), or you in particular.
  • Chart how often a particular congress-person votes on party lines.
  • Dynamic feeds that track a particular representative: what legislation they're sponsoring, what their votes are, what campaign contributions they receive and from who, etc.
  • Tons more...

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Posted on Friday, September 8, 2006 4:10 PM Programming , General | Back to top


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