Roll call vote format update
The data format for roll call votes is being updated. New elements and
attribute values are now possible. This was done so that House votes for
election of the speaker can be parsed (Alex Milowski's idea).
At the top of the file, there are new "option" elements that give the
possible votes that a Member might cast: the textual description in the
body of the element ("Aye", "Present", "Guilty", etc.), and a "key"
attribute that matches the "vote" attribute later on (e.g. +, -, 0, and
P as always).
On voter elements, there is a new value attribute that repeats the
textual description of the vote from the top, for convenience.
For votes for election of the speaker (and perhaps others where names
are involved?), the option elements include the choices for speaker. The
key attribute takes on other arbitrary values that aren't to be relied
on, except to match the vote attribute on voter elements.
The format is, in a sense, backwards compatible, except for new vote
files that are now available for election of the Speaker, which might
mess you up if you don't check for unexpected values for the vote attribute.
http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/110/rolls/h2007-2.xml (election of speaker)
http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/110/rolls/h2007-3.xml (routine vote)
The data files are in the process of being updated. It'll take several
- Josh Tauberer
"Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)