The U.S. election is just around the corner — and this year the election will look much different than previous years. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, there are new questions arising around voter health and safety, ballot fraud and security, and voter suppression. There are now more ways to vote — in-person early voting, mail-in ballot, absentee voting, and same-day election polls. We may not even know the final results of the election until weeks later. Regardless of the outcome — this will be a history-making election.
Data plays an important role in elections. Data provides voters with insights on the props and candidates running in their area. It can provide campaign officials with information citizens within their counties, states, and national and the issues they care about. Data is collected on the day of the election and shared with media outlets in real-time to communicate results to citizens quickly.
APIs play a big role in connecting and communicating this data. Here are 15 APIs to track U.S. election data and information:
The Google Civic Information API lets developers build applications that display civic information to their users. It allows you to look up who represents a residential address at each elected level of government. You can also look up polling places, early vote location, candidate data, and other election official information.
#2 Democracy Works Elections API
The Democracy Works Elections API enables developers to add state and municipal elections data to their applications. The API returns detailed calendar information of upcoming state, special, and local elections. Data is returned as JSON objects.
The Vote Smart API allows developers to integrate voting data into their applications. The API can respond to queries such as ‘get bio information for candidate Y’ and ‘get Votes for candidate X.’ Classes include political courage test, officials, rating, state, votes, address, candidates, districts, elections, and leadership.
The Associated Press Elections API retrieves election data including race information about each candidate, vote updates with delegate counts, and race calls where a winner has been declared. In the query explorer, developers can access with an API key.
NationBuilder is an open platform for users to create online communities centered around issues relevant to them. Users can create community organization websites, access a people database, and use communication tools such as email, text messaging, and social media. The NationBuilder Election Center API uses REST calls and returns JSON. The service offers access to a database of voter data, political, and geographic regions, and other campaign information. This data can be integrated into third-party applications to facilitate the design of campaign centered applications.
The BallotReady API retrieves elections, polling places, candidates, measures, elected officials, districts, and normalized positions data. Developers can use an API key to authenticate, make calls, and receive JSON formats as the responses.
The Voting Information Project (VIP) offers technology tools to provide voters with access to customized election information to help them navigate the voting process and cast an informed vote. VIP works with election officials across the nation to ensure this information is official and reliable. VIP uses an open format with which state election divisions can publish their voting information and make it accessible. The API provides information on polling places, candidates, deadlines, rules and regulations, and more. It uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in XML and JSON.
The ElectionsOnline (REST) API retrieves voting data including elections, ballots, voter groups, positions, candidates, and rosters. Developers can authenticate with basic auth and make calls to receive responses in JSON and XML formats. Elections online provide a test voting system that aims to increase voter participation, enable member engagement, and blend a ballot into websites for a single sign-on experience.
#9 OpaVote API
The OpaVote API manages online elections from a user’s servers. Items include elections, polls, and counts. Developers can authenticate with an API key and make calls that will retrieve JSON formats in return. OpaVote’s goals are providing a simple user interface for voters, encrypting voting pages, maintaining voters’ privacy, saving money, and specializing in ranked voting.
#10 OpenSecrets API
The OpenSecrets API provides access to the data displayed on OpenSecrets.org. OpenSecrets performs research to track money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Use the API to access a politician’s top contributors, personal financial disclosures for a politician, and more.
The ProPublica Campaign Finance API allows developers to retrieve data from United States Federal Election Commission filings and other sources. This data includes summary information for candidates and committees and some kinds of itemized data. The ProPublica Campaign Finance database is updated daily, with electronic filings being updated every 15 minutes.
The USA.gov Social Media Registry is an official source for finding social media accounts for federal government agencies, elected officials, and other appointed officials. The registry does not include state or local officials. The Social Media Registry API allows users to access account data from the Registry using RESTful GET calls with various parameters.
#13 Cicero API
The Cicero API geocodes addresses and matches them to legislative districts and elected official contact information. Cicero easily integrates into an organization’s existing web application or data management software. State and national data is available for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the United States, and Mexico. In addition to geocoding addresses and matching them to the correct legislative districts, Cicero returns maps of each district and detailed information about each elected official including office addresses, emails, and social media identifiers. Cicero also provides non-legislative district matching for census data, counties, school districts, watersheds, and police districts.
The service provides online election voting by appropriate user populations with tabulation of results. Users access ballots by logins defined by the application integrating the election function. The application specifies questions up for balloting and options that voters may select, embedded in desired display code. Reporting of results is under control of the application using the service. API methods support verification of the voter’s login credential and ballot privileges, including subgroup membership defining access to specific ballot selections, based on data provided by the application developer. Methods log each voter’s selections and support definition of questions and selection options by the application using the service. Methods allow definition of candidate descriptions and other information available to voters as well as ultimate reporting of results.
#15 Ballotpedia API
The Ballotpedia API retrieves candidate information including names, party affiliations, incumbency status, biographical information, contact information, campaign websites, district boundary maps, and election dates.
To find even more APIs, check out the API directory on ProgrammableWeb.com. For more information on how to vote in this year’s election on November 3 — check out your state’s election website or visit USA.gov.