April 10 2009 Status Report

This post originally appeared at https://sunlightfoundation.com/2009/04/10/fifty-states-project-april-10th-status-report/ but has moved here for posterity.

Six weeks ago we announced on this blog the Fifty State Project, our ambitious project to begin building scrapers and storing data for all legislative information from all fifty states. At the time this project seemed like a longshot, but almost immediately a community rose to the challenge and there are now more than a dozen contributors and more than thirty states in progress.

Up until now most of the discussion has taken place on the Sunlight Labs google group, but now that the project is beginning to mature we have launched a dedicated Fifty States Project group. This list aims to serve two purposes: allow project maintainers to keep up to date on the status of various states (this list is the best place to announce your intent to work on a new state for example), and also to allow for discussion of technical considerations related to writing the parsers (eg. best scraping practices).

Stats Breakdown

Current stats as of April 9th, for updated stats check the wiki or GitHub.

Contributed States (20)

Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia

Claimed States (22)

Colorado, Washington DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming

Unclaimed States (9)

Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin


Of the thirteen existing contributors six attended PyCon Sprint (http://www.sunlightlabs.com/blog/2009/03/30/thank-you-pycon/) and another three were from Web 2.0 Expo. These numbers don’t tell the whole story as we had about thirty participants in our sprint at PyCon, and a large number of the claimed states that are in progress are claimed by PyCon attendees. One of the PyCon attendees has also been given commit access given the huge amount of work he has done on a number of states.

What Now?

The work that all of you have done is incredible, and this project is far beyond where we thought we would be after less than two months. All of us here are tremendously grateful for all of our contributors, especially those of you that made it out to PyCon or Web 2.0 expo.

Despite the remarkable progress there is still a lot of work to do, all fifty states are still lacking vote information, and there are nine states with no work at all. Now that there are twenty something examples in the repository it should be easier than ever to join in.

Also, don’t forget to join the new Fifty States Project group_ as that’s where most discussion on the project will be taking place from now on.