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.)
>>> from votesmart import votesmart
And set your API key:
>>> votesmart.apikey = '<<SET API KEY HERE>>'
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Address.html
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 District Office 450 Golden Gate Avenue 14th Floor San Francisco CA
return a list of
WebAddress objects based on the provided election or
- Example of getting Nancy Pelosi's web addresses:
>>> for x in votesmart.address.getOfficeWebAddress(26732): ... print x http://speaker.house.gov/ http://www.house.gov/pelosi/ http://www.house.gov/pelosi/contact/contact.html email@example.com
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/CandidateBio.html
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)
All five methods return a list containing one or more Candidate objects.
Example of fetching all candidates for the MN Senate race:
>>> for candidate in votesmart.candidates.getByOfficeState(6, 'MN'): ... print candidate Norm Coleman Al Franken
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 of Congress Joint Economic Committee
getCommittee(committeeId) get extended details on a committee in a
Example of getting details on the House Ways & Means committee:
>>> committee = votesmart.committee.getCommittee(23) >>> print committee.jurisdiction 1. Customs revenue, collection districts, and ports of entry and delivery. 2. Reciprocal trade agreements. 3. Revenue measures generally. 4. Revenue measures relating to insular possessions. 5. Bonded debt of the United States, subject to the last sentence of clause 4(f). 6. Deposit of public monies. 7. Transportation of dutiable goods. 8. Tax exempt foundations and charitable trusts. 9. National social security (except health care and facilities programs that are supported from general revenues as opposed to payroll deductions and except work incentive programs).
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 Jerrold Nadler Representative Trent Franks Representative Stephen Cohen Representative John Conyers Representative Artur Davis Representative Keith Ellison Representative Darrell Issa Representative James Jordan Representative Steve King Representative Mike Pence Representative Robert Scott Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz Representative Melvin Watt
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/District.html
getByOfficeState(officeId, stateId, districtName=None) gets 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 District 1 District 2 District 3 District 4 District 5 District 6 District 7 District 8 District 9 District 10 District 11 District 12 District 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) gets all Election objects
matching a given criteria. If stateId is not specified it defaults to national
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 House Majority Leader State Senate Majority Leader State House Minority Leader State Senate Minority Leader
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Local.html
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): ... print official Mayor Mark Begich Assembly Member Chris Birch Assembly Member Matt Claman Assembly Member Dan Coffey Assembly Member Harriet Drummond Assembly Member Patrick Flynn Assembly Member Elvi Gray-Jackson Assembly Member Mike Gutierrez Assembly Member Jennifer Johnston Assembly Member Debbie Ossiander Assembly Member Sheila Selkregg Assembly Member Bill Starr
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'] repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on the issues through the 2008 Political Courage Test when asked to do so by national leaders of the political parties, prominent members of the media, Project Vote Smart President Richard Kimball, and Project Vote Smart staff.
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
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
Official API documentation at http://api.votesmart.org/docs/Officials.html
All five methods return a list containing one or more Candidate objects.
Example of fetching all candidates for the MN Senate race:
>>> 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
Example of getting a few groups concerned with Environmental Issues:
>>> for sig in votesmart.rating.getSigList(30)[0:5]: ... print sig 916: American Land Rights Association 934: American Lands Alliance 1081: American Wilderness Coalition 1702: American Wind Energy Association 1107: California Park & Recreation Society
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 Representative Nancy Pelosi supported the interests of the Sierra Club 100 percent in 2003.
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 6,187,358 (1990) 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
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 - 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.
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 7 methods that return Bill objects based on various parameters:
getBillsByCategoryYearState(categoryId, year, stateId=None)
getBillsByOfficialYearOffice(candidateId, year, officeId=None)
getBillsByCandidateCategoryOffice(candidateId, categoryId, officeId=None)
Example of getting a few recently tracked bills for 2008:
>>> for bill in votesmart.votes.getBillsByYearState(2008)[-5:]: ... print bill HR 7081 HR 2095 Amtrak Reauthorization HR 2095 HR 6867 Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation HR 7321 Auto Industry Financing
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