Libraries for interacting with the Project Vote Smart API
Python library for interacting with the Project Vote Smart API.
The Project Vote Smart API provides detailed information on politicians, including bios, votes, and NPAT responses. (http://votesmart.org/services_api.php)
python-votesmart is a project of Sunlight Labs (c) 2008. Written by James Turk <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
All code is under a BSD-style license, see LICENSE for details.
python >= 2.4
simplejson >= 1.8 (not required with python 2.6, will use built in json module)
To install run
python setup.py install
which will install the library into python’s site-packages directory.
To initialize the api, all that is required is for it to be imported and for an API key to be defined.
(If you do not have an API key visit http://votesmart.org/services_api.php to register for one.)
Import votesmart from votesmart:
>>> from votesmart import votesmart
And set your API key:
>>> votesmart.apikey = '<YOUR KEY>'
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Address.html
The methods getCampaign(candidateId), getCampaignByElection(electionId), and getOffice(candidateId) all return a list of Address objects based on the provided election or candidate id.
Example of getting Nancy Pelosi’s office:
>>> addr = votesmart.address.getOffice(26732) >>> print addr.street, addr.city, addr.state 235 Cannon House Office Building Washington DC
getCampaignWebAddress(candidateId) and getOfficeWebAddress(candidateId) return a list of WebAddress objects based on the provided election or candidate id.
- Example of getting Nancy Pelosi’s web addresses:
>>> for x in votesmart.address.getOfficeWebAddress(26732): ... print x https://pelosi.house.gov/contact/email-me.shtml http://www.house.gov/pelosi/ AmericanVoices@mail.house.gov
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/CandidateBio.html
getBio(candidateId) and getAddlBio(candidateId) get a Bio object and a series of AddlBio objects.
Example of getting Nancy Pelosi’s bio:
>>> bio = votesmart.candidatebio.getBio(26732) >>> print 'Born', bio.birthDate, 'in', bio.birthPlace Born 03/26/1940 in Baltimore, MD>>> for fact in votesmart.candidatebio.getAddlBio(26732): ... print fact Father's Occupation: Congressman for Baltimore, Mayor of Baltimore Number of Grandchildren: 5
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Candidates.html
- getByOfficeState(officeId, stateId=None, electionYear=None)
- getByLastname(lastName, electionYear=None)
- getByLevenstein(lastName, electionYear=None)
- getByDistrict(districtId, electionYear=None)
- getByZip(zip5, zip4=None)
All six methods return a list containing one or more Candidate objects.
Example of fetching all candidates for the NJ Gubernatorial race:
>>> for candidate in votesmart.candidates.getByOfficeState(3, 'NJ'): ... print candidate Christopher Christie Christopher Christie Jon Corzine Jon Corzine Jason Cullen Christopher Daggett Kenneth Kaplan Joshua Leinsdorf Brian Levine Alvin Lindsay David Meiswinkle Richard Merkt Gregory Pason Kostas Petris Gary Steele Gary Stein
You will notice that several candidates appear twice, this is due to an unfortunate issue with the Vote Smart API where candidates with multiple parties, or election statuses are duplicated. Be careful when consuming candidate data to dedupe using the fields you find useful.
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Committee.html
getTypes() returns a listing of all CommitteeType.
>>> for c in votesmart.committee.getTypes(): ... print c.committeeTypeId, c.name H House S Senate J Joint
getCommitteesByTypeState(typeId=None, stateId=None) returns a listing of Committee objects, if either typeId isn’t specified all committees for that state will be returned, if state isn’t specified then congressional committees will be returned.
Example of getting all joint committees:
>>> for c in votesmart.committee.getCommitteesByTypeState(typeId='J'): ... print c Joint Committee on Printing Joint Committee on Taxation Joint Committee on the Library Joint Economic Committee
getCommittee(committeeId) get extended details on a committee in a CommitteeDetail object.
Example of getting details on the House Ways & Means committee:
>>> committee = votesmart.committee.getCommittee(23) >>> print committee Ways and Means
getCommitteeMembers(committeeId) gets a list of CommitteeMember objects representing members of the given committee.
Example of getting all members of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties:
>>> for member in votesmart.committee.getCommitteeMembers(4015): ... print member Representative Trent Franks Representative Mike Pence Representative Steven Chabot Representative John Conyers Representative James Randy Forbes Representative James Jordan Representative Steve King Representative Jerrold Nadler Representative Mike Quigley Representative Robert Scott
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/District.html
getByOfficeState(officeId, stateId, districtName=None) and getByZip(zip5, zip4=None) return a list of District objects matching the specified criteria.
Example of getting all House districts for North Carolina:
>>> for district in votesmart.district.getByOfficeState(5, 'NC'): ... print district 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Official API documentation at
getElection(electionId) fetches a single Election object by electionId.
Example of getting details on NC 2008 Gubernatorial election:
>>> election = votesmart.election.getElection(684) >>> print election.name North Carolina Gubernatorial 2008 >>> for stage in election.stages: ... print stage.name, stage.electionDate Primary 2008-05-06 General 2008-11-04
getElectionByYearState(year, stateId=None) and getElectionByZip(zip5, zip4=None, year=None) get all Election objects matching a given criteria. If stateId is not specified it defaults to national elections.
Example of getting details on all elections in North Carolina in 2008:
>>> for election in votesmart.election.getElectionByYearState(2008, 'NC'): ... print election North Carolina Congressional 2008 North Carolina Gubernatorial 2008 North Carolina State Legislative 2008 North Carolina State Judicial 2008
getStageCandidates(electionId, stageId, party=None, districtId=None, stateId=None) gets a list of StageCandidate objects matching the given criteria.
Example of getting all North Carolina 2008 Gubernatorial primary candidates:
for candidate in votesmart.election.getStageCandidates(684, ‘P’)
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Leadership.html
getPositions(stateId=None, officeId=None) gets a list of LeadershipPosition objects matching the given criteria.
Example of getting all Alaska leadership positions:
>>> for pos in votesmart.leadership.getPositions('AK'): ... print pos.officeName, pos.name State House Speaker State Senate President State Senate Majority Leader State House Majority Leader State Senate Minority Leader State House Minority Leader
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Local.html
getCounties(stateId) and getCities(stateId) return lists of counties or cities as Locality objects.
Example of getting all cities in Alaska:
>>> for city in votesmart.local.getCities('AK'): ... print city.name, city.localId Anchorage 1 Fairbanks 2 Juneau 4322
getOfficials(localId) gets all Officials known for a given locality.
Example of getting all officials from Anchorage, AK:
>>> for official in votesmart.local.getOfficials(1)[0:1]: ... print official Mayor Mark Begich
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Measure.html
getMeasuresByYearState(year, stateId) gets a list of Measure objects for the provided year and state.
Example of getting all 2008 Maryland Ballot Measures:
>>> for measure in votesmart.measure.getMeasuresByYearState(2008, 'MD'): ... print measure.measureId, measure.title 1260 Video Lottery 1261 Early Voting
getMeasure(measureId) gets a MeasureDetail object providing more details about a particular measure.
Example of getting more details on Maryland 2008 Early Voting measure:
>>> measure = votesmart.measure.getMeasure(1260) >>> print measure.source # just print the url -- summary is long http://www.elections.state.md.us/elections/2008/questions/index.html
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Npat.html
NPATs are not converted into objects, the getNpat method is exceptional in that it returns a python dict representing the NPAT in question.
Example of checking John McCain’s NPAT:
>>> print votesmart.npat.getNpat(53270)['surveyMessage'] refused to tell citizens where he/she stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2010 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.
–e———– office methods ————–
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Office.html
getTypes() gets a list of OfficeType objects representing all office types that the PVS API tracks.
>>> for type in votesmart.office.getTypes(): ... print type P: Presidential and Cabinet C: Congressional J: Supreme Court G: Governor and Cabinet K: State Judicial L: State Legislature S: State Wide H: Local Judicial N: Local Legislative M: Local Executive
getBranches() gets a list of OfficeBranch objects representing all branches that the PVS API tracks.
>>> for branch in votesmart.office.getBranches(): ... print branch E: Executive L: Legislative J: Judicial
getLevels() gets a list of all OfficeLevel objects representing all office levels that the PVS API tracks.
>>> for level in votesmart.office.getLevels(): ... print level F: Federal S: State L: Local
getOfficesByType(typeId), getOfficesByLevel(levelId), getOfficesByTypeLevel(typeId, levelId), and getOfficesByBranchLevel(branchId, levelId) return a list of Office objects based on the provided parameters.
Example of getting all Executive titles for the Local level:
>>> for office in votesmart.office.getOfficesByBranchLevel('E', 'L'): ... print office Freeholder Mayor Public Advocate Council Comptroller Village Manager
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Officials.html
- getByOfficeState(officeId, stateId=None)
- getByZip(zip5, zip4=None)
All officials methods return a list containing one or more Candidate objects.
Example of fetching all senators from California.
>>> for official in votesmart.officials.getByOfficeState(6, 'CA'): ... print official Senator Barbara Boxer Senator Dianne Feinstein
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Rating.html
getCategories(stateId=None) gets a list of Category objects for a given state (national if no state provided).
Example of getting a few of the issue categories for New York:
>>> for category in votesmart.rating.getCategories('NY')[0:5]: ... print category 2: Abortion Issues 5: Animal Rights and Wildlife Issues 11: Business and Consumers 13: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights 17: Conservative
getSigList(categoryId, stateId=None) gets a list of Sig objects representing all special interest groups associated with a particular category. Optionally a state can be provided to restrict results to a SIG operating within a particular state.
Example of getting a few groups concerned with Environmental Issues:
>>> for sig in votesmart.rating.getSigList(30)[0:5]: ... print sig 934: American Lands Alliance 1081: American Wilderness Coalition 1702: American Wind Energy Association 1107: California Park & Recreation Society 292: Citizens for Health - Food, Water & Ecological Health Rating
getSig(sigId) gets all details available for a special interest group.
Example getting all details for Sierra Club:
>>> sig = votesmart.rating.getSig(657) >>> print sig.address, sig.city, sig.state 408 C Street, Northeast Washington DC
getCandidateRating(candidateId, sigId) gets a Rating object representing a candidate’s rating by a particular special interest group.
Example checking how Sierra Club rated Nancy Pelosi:
>>> for rating in votesmart.rating.getCandidateRating(26732, 657): ... print rating
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/State.html
getStateIDs() returns State objects for all states (and state-like entities)
Example of printing a few of the states returned from getStateIds:
>>> for state in votesmart.state.getStateIDs()[0:5]: ... print state NA National AS American Samoa FL Florida MI Michigan MO Missouri
getState(stateId) returns a StateDetail object with all known details on a given state.
Example of getting several details about the state of Virginia:
>>> va = votesmart.state.getState('VA') >>> print va.population, va.motto 7,882,590 (2009) Sic Semper Tyrannis [Thus Always to Tyrants]
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Votes.html
getCategories(year, stateId=None) gets a list of Category objects for a given year and optionally a state (national if no state provided).
Example of getting a few of the national bill categories for 2008:
>>> for category in votesmart.votes.getCategories(2008)[0:5]: ... print category 2: Abortion Issues 4: Agriculture Issues 5: Animal Rights and Wildlife Issues 10: Budget, Spending and Taxes 11: Business and Consumers
getBill(billId) returns a BillDetail object providing details on a particular bill.
Example of getting details on HR 7321 Auto Industry Financing bill:
>>> bill = votesmart.votes.getBill(8528) >>> print bill.officialTitle HR 7321: To authorize financial assistance to eligible automobile manufacturers, and for other purposes. >>> for sponsor in bill.sponsors: ... print sponsor Barney Frank >>> for action in bill.actions: ... print action 2008-12-10 - Introduced 2008-12-10 - Passage
getBillAction(actionId) returns a BillAction object providing details on a particular action taken on a bill.
Example of getting details on an action for HR 5576:
>>> print votesmart.votes.getBillAction(8272) HR 5576: Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, District of Columbia, and independent agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes.
getBillActionVotes(actionId) and getBillActionVoteByOfficial(actionId, candidateId) retrieve lists of Vote objects for a given action (and official).
Example of getting Nancy Pelosi’s vote on passage of HR 7321:
>>> print votesmart.votes.getBillActionVoteByOfficial(23069, 26732) Pelosi, Nancy: Yea
There are 8 methods that return Bill objects based on various parameters:
- getBillsByCategoryYearState(categoryId, year, stateId=None)
- getBillsByYearState(year, stateId=None)
- getBillsByOfficialYearOffice(candidateId, year, officeId=None)
- getBillsByCandidateCategoryOffice(candidateId, categoryId, officeId=None)
- getBillsBySponsorYear(candidateId, year)
- getBillsBySponsorCategory(candidateId, categoryId)
- getBillsByStateRecent(stateId=None, amount=None)
Example of getting a few recently tracked bills for 2008:
>>> for bill in votesmart.votes.getBillsByYearState(2008)[-5:]: ... print bill HR 3997 Financial Asset Purchase Authority HR 7321 Automotive Industry Financing H Res 982 Contempt Charges HR 5501 Funding to Combat AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis HR 415 Adding Parts of the Taunton River to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System
getVetoes(candidateId) returns all vetoes for a particular executive.
Example of getting all of George W. Bush’s vetoes:
>>> for veto in votesmart.votes.getVetoes(22369): ... print veto HR 6331 Medicare Bill HR 6124 Second Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 (Farm Bill) HR 2419 Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 (Farm Bill) HR 1585 HR 3963 Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007 (CHIP) HR 976 State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization S 5 Stem Cell Research Act of 2007 HR 1591 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill of 2007 with Iraq Withdrawal Timeline