Senate Opening Up? Offers Up Vote Data In XML Format

from the fun-to-watch dept

There’s been a big push lately to get the gov’t to be a lot more open with its data, and both the new federal government CTO and CIO have spoken up about the importance of opening up more data. While it may take some time, we are starting to see things happen — and happen quickly in some cases. Apparently, the Senate agreed (despite some reservations) to make the data from Senate votes available in an open XML format, and just a few days later that data is available. This is absolutely a good thing, but the real test will be seeing what people do with this and other open government data sources. It’s nice to report on the government doing something right every once in a while….

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Comments on “Senate Opening Up? Offers Up Vote Data In XML Format”

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14 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

After clicking through a few links, I was able to find two examples of the information in XML format.

It’s nice, but there doesn’t seem to be a list of all available roll call votes. I would certainly like to go to http://www.senate.gov and find a list of the XML files. A quick search on the site did not reveal a list of files.

Also, it would be nice to see the DTD, Schema, or Relax NG information for the files. That way it would be easy to process the information, write XSLT transformations, and otherwise make use of this resource.

Still, this is an excellent first start.

Paul says:

Pointless

Whoop’d f’ing doo. Absolutely useless.

If Congress truly, sincerely cared about transparency, they’d use source control for drafting legislation. I’d love to see them use Subversion to track exactly which congressman inserted that particularly heinous clause into an otherwise normal bill.

That’s the kind of transparency we need. Once it’s up for a vote, it’s way too late to affect change.

joe says:

This is not really news

Every vote, by every congress representative, Senate and House, since 1991, has been online on the Washington post web site since past year when one of my sons programmed it for them.

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/

Further, as you will see there, the votes are analyzed, disected, cross-referenced and summarized by just about any data point you might wish.

You can also see the other amazing data projects he did for them on his blog entry (http://push.cx/2009/washington-post-update) that summarizes his work for them.

Sign me, Proud Father of a fantastic young man.

Joe says:

a correction

After re-reading what I posted, I realize it sounds as if I am saying Peter did the whole WP stuff by himself. If you read his blog entry, you will see that he credits those whose works he added to and those whose prior work and current contributions were essential o his own part. And, the comments on his entry continue a dialog with some of those people.

Bettawrekonize (profile) says:

“If Congress truly, sincerely cared about transparency, they’d use source control for drafting legislation. I’d love to see them use Subversion to track exactly which congressman inserted that particularly heinous clause into an otherwise normal bill.

That’s the kind of transparency we need. Once it’s up for a vote, it’s way too late to affect change.”

I COMPLETELY agree!!! We should know EXACTLY how every single person voted. When federal agencies, like the FDA, pass laws there should be COMPLETE transparency over who was responsible for the passage of such laws.

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