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Re: [govtrack] Unrecorded Votes

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  • David Steinbrunner
    ... Well I did find an issue which cleans my results up a bit. My code was not expecting votes that did not contain the typical vote keys. This clears up my
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 4, 2011
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      On 1/3/11 11:56 AM, "Derek Willis" <dwillis@...> wrote:

      >Steve's answer is good, but permit me to elaborate:
      >In the WaPo db (which I helped build), there are the following options
      >for a member's vote:
      > 1. Yes/No
      > 2. Present (House only)
      > 3. Conflict of Interest (Senate only, very rarely invoked)
      > 4. Not Voting (member did not vote)
      >
      >In addition, a member who was not in office at the time of the vote has
      >no record at all (the NYT API, which I now work on, lists the Vacant
      >seats for each House or Senate vote).
      >
      >Delegates, resident commissioners and other similar members of the House
      >can only vote on amendments on the floor (the Committee of the Whole as
      >it's called), but not on other floor votes like passage. This practice is
      >usually permitted by Democratic majorities and is likely to be rescinded
      >once the new congress convenes this week. So those members are only
      >eligible for a few dozen votes - the others should not count as "misses"
      >because they are not permitted to vote on those questions.
      >
      >The Speaker votes at his or her discretion, and the lack of a vote is not
      >counted as a missed vote in the same way as a normal member (at least,
      >not by traditional observers such as Congressional Quarterly).
      >
      >One thing about the Post's database right now - it has not been updated
      >since mid-November, so it does not reflect the full set of votes in the
      >111th Congress (my friends at the Post are working on updating it). fwiw,
      >I've got Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania and Frank
      >LoBiondo of New Jersey as having perfect voting records in both sessions
      >of the 111th Congress.

      Well I did find an issue which cleans my results up a bit. My code was
      not expecting votes that did not contain the typical vote keys. This
      clears up my example Rep. John Boehner being the only person to have a
      full count. The example with Rep. Gary Miller having 10 unrecorded along
      with a few other examples I have looked at shows that someone can be in
      office per the data but not start actually voting for days. Does this
      sound correct an is it valid protocol?

      When I get a chance I'll drill down further for any other anomalies.

      Thanks,

      --
      David Steinbrunner
    • Josh Tauberer
      Thanks for looking so closely into this everyone. Everything sounded ... That doesn t sound right. (I m assuming there were votes in the intervening time
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 4, 2011
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        Thanks for looking so closely into this everyone. Everything sounded
        right to me up till:

        > someone can be in office per the data but not start actually voting for days.

        That doesn't sound right. (I'm assuming there were votes in the
        intervening time right?) Occasionally there's the question of if
        someone's sworn in at noon do I round the day up or down? So off-by-one
        is plausible. If it's more than that, the start date could be wrong. For
        House members, the clerk website has a list of "vacancies" (I think
        archivally as well) that would answer this question.


        - Josh Tauberer
        - CivicImpulse / GovTrack.us

        http://razor.occams.info | www.govtrack.us | civicimpulse.com

        "Members of both sides are reminded not to use guests of the
        House as props."

        On 01/04/2011 10:21 AM, David Steinbrunner wrote:
        > On 1/3/11 11:56 AM, "Derek Willis"<dwillis@...> wrote:
        >
        >> Steve's answer is good, but permit me to elaborate:
        >> In the WaPo db (which I helped build), there are the following options
        >> for a member's vote:
        >> 1. Yes/No
        >> 2. Present (House only)
        >> 3. Conflict of Interest (Senate only, very rarely invoked)
        >> 4. Not Voting (member did not vote)
        >>
        >> In addition, a member who was not in office at the time of the vote has
        >> no record at all (the NYT API, which I now work on, lists the Vacant
        >> seats for each House or Senate vote).
        >>
        >> Delegates, resident commissioners and other similar members of the House
        >> can only vote on amendments on the floor (the Committee of the Whole as
        >> it's called), but not on other floor votes like passage. This practice is
        >> usually permitted by Democratic majorities and is likely to be rescinded
        >> once the new congress convenes this week. So those members are only
        >> eligible for a few dozen votes - the others should not count as "misses"
        >> because they are not permitted to vote on those questions.
        >>
        >> The Speaker votes at his or her discretion, and the lack of a vote is not
        >> counted as a missed vote in the same way as a normal member (at least,
        >> not by traditional observers such as Congressional Quarterly).
        >>
        >> One thing about the Post's database right now - it has not been updated
        >> since mid-November, so it does not reflect the full set of votes in the
        >> 111th Congress (my friends at the Post are working on updating it). fwiw,
        >> I've got Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania and Frank
        >> LoBiondo of New Jersey as having perfect voting records in both sessions
        >> of the 111th Congress.
        >
        > Well I did find an issue which cleans my results up a bit. My code was
        > not expecting votes that did not contain the typical vote keys. This
        > clears up my example Rep. John Boehner being the only person to have a
        > full count. The example with Rep. Gary Miller having 10 unrecorded along
        > with a few other examples I have looked at shows that someone can be in
        > office per the data but not start actually voting for days. Does this
        > sound correct an is it valid protocol?
        >
        > When I get a chance I'll drill down further for any other anomalies.
        >
        > Thanks,
        >
        > --
        > David Steinbrunner
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
      • David Steinbrunner
        ... Early on I thought I had an off by one in my determining the date stuff myself but my findings, at least in this case, show that it is not the issue. I
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 4, 2011
        On 1/4/11 11:11 PM, "Josh Tauberer" <tauberer@...> wrote:

        >Thanks for looking so closely into this everyone. Everything sounded
        >right to me up till:
        >
        >> someone can be in office per the data but not start actually voting for
        >>days.
        >
        >That doesn't sound right. (I'm assuming there were votes in the
        >intervening time right?) Occasionally there's the question of if
        >someone's sworn in at noon do I round the day up or down? So off-by-one
        >is plausible. If it's more than that, the start date could be wrong. For
        >House members, the clerk website has a list of "vacancies" (I think
        >archivally as well) that would answer this question.

        Early on I thought I had an off by one in my determining the date stuff
        myself but my findings, at least in this case, show that it is not the
        issue.

        I checked here:
        http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/vacancies.html

        And did not see anything related to the example I'm working with. Gary
        Miller has actually held this perticualr seat since 2003 per Wikipedia:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Miller

        Looking at the govtrack web view you can see that rolls 1-11 are missing
        with the exception of 2 being "Not Voting":
        http://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes.xpd?year=2009&person=400277

        I'm assuming the source of these early 2009 votes is here and it seems to
        match up with what govtrack reports:
        http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/ROLL_000.asp

        I have attached the latest result sets I have from my script if anyone is
        interested. I have a smaller, cleaned up version of the output_in.csv
        file with excludes data from the Speaker and the US Territory/DC reps and
        am not attaching the output_out.csv file since it is large and ultimately
        not as useful as the other smaller files.

        --
        David Steinbrunner
      • Derek Willis
        Now I remember this situation - the Clerk s office did not publish Gary Miller s votes in the initial portion of the 111th congress. He did vote, but the
        Message 4 of 11 , Jan 5, 2011
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          Now I remember this situation - the Clerk's office did not publish Gary Miller's votes in the initial portion of the 111th congress. He did vote, but the Clerk's site does not reflect that. This is a very rare occurrence - the only time I can remember it happening - so I would not consider it typical. But it has not been fixed, either.

          Derek

          On Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 1:03 AM, David Steinbrunner <dsteinbrunner@...> wrote:
           
          [Attachment(s) from David Steinbrunner included below]

          On 1/4/11 11:11 PM, "Josh Tauberer" <tauberer@...> wrote:

          >Thanks for looking so closely into this everyone. Everything sounded
          >right to me up till:
          >
          >> someone can be in office per the data but not start actually voting for
          >>days.
          >
          >That doesn't sound right. (I'm assuming there were votes in the
          >intervening time right?) Occasionally there's the question of if
          >someone's sworn in at noon do I round the day up or down? So off-by-one
          >is plausible. If it's more than that, the start date could be wrong. For
          >House members, the clerk website has a list of "vacancies" (I think
          >archivally as well) that would answer this question.

          Early on I thought I had an off by one in my determining the date stuff
          myself but my findings, at least in this case, show that it is not the
          issue.

          I checked here:
          http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/vacancies.html

          And did not see anything related to the example I'm working with. Gary
          Miller has actually held this perticualr seat since 2003 per Wikipedia:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Miller

          Looking at the govtrack web view you can see that rolls 1-11 are missing
          with the exception of 2 being "Not Voting":
          http://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes.xpd?year=2009&person=400277

          I'm assuming the source of these early 2009 votes is here and it seems to
          match up with what govtrack reports:
          http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/ROLL_000.asp

          I have attached the latest result sets I have from my script if anyone is
          interested. I have a smaller, cleaned up version of the output_in.csv
          file with excludes data from the Speaker and the US Territory/DC reps and
          am not attaching the output_out.csv file since it is large and ultimately
          not as useful as the other smaller files.

          --
          David Steinbrunner


        • David Steinbrunner
          ... Ok, looking at other examples in my speardsheets I m seeing how vacancies and day of taking office appear to account for most of the issue but I m not done
          Message 5 of 11 , Jan 6, 2011
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            On 1/5/11 9:58 AM, "Derek Willis" <dwillis@...> wrote:

            >Now I remember this situation - the Clerk's office did not publish Gary
            >Miller's votes in the initial portion of the 111th congress. He did vote,
            >but the Clerk's site does not reflect that. This is a very rare
            >occurrence - the only time I can remember it happening - so I would not
            >consider it typical. But it has not been fixed, either.

            Ok, looking at other examples in my speardsheets I'm seeing how vacancies
            and day of taking office appear to account for most of the issue but I'm
            not done making sure that is 100% case aside from the above.

            In the case of the Clerk's site not being correct, what is the proper way
            to get the ball rolling so it can be correct, or is this 2 year odd issue
            evidence that it doesn't? Should calling and/or emailing the clerk's
            office along with the office of the legislator in question be enough or is
            there a better route?

            Also, is there a plan to include vacancy info in the govtrack data set?

            Thanks,

            --
            David Steinbrunner
          • Derek Willis
            I ve contacted the Clerk s office before about this issue but it s still there, so take that for what it s worth. I should note that in Gary Miller s case, as
            Message 6 of 11 , Jan 6, 2011
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              I've contacted the Clerk's office before about this issue but it's
              still there, so take that for what it's worth. I should note that in
              Gary Miller's case, as in Peter DeFazio of Oregon this term, the seat
              is "vacant" because both men were not present on the first day of the
              session to be sworn in, and thus were not sworn in at that time. So
              the Clerk is technically correct, I suppose, even though DeFazio is
              the duly elected member from Oregon's 4th District. But if they're not
              sworn in, they can't vote, so I don't think this is truly an error.

              Derek

              On Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 10:02 AM, David Steinbrunner
              <dsteinbrunner@...> wrote:
              > On 1/5/11 9:58 AM, "Derek Willis" <dwillis@...> wrote:
              >
              >>Now I remember this situation - the Clerk's office did not publish Gary
              >>Miller's votes in the initial portion of the 111th congress. He did vote,
              >>but the Clerk's site does not reflect that. This is a very rare
              >>occurrence - the only time I can remember it happening - so I would not
              >>consider it typical. But it has not been fixed, either.
              >
              > Ok, looking at other examples in my speardsheets I'm seeing how vacancies
              > and day of taking office appear to account for most of the issue but I'm
              > not done making sure that is 100% case aside from the above.
              >
              > In the case of the Clerk's site not being correct, what is the proper way
              > to get the ball rolling so it can be correct, or is this 2 year odd issue
              > evidence that it doesn't? Should calling and/or emailing the clerk's
              > office along with the office of the legislator in question be enough or is
              > there a better route?
              >
              > Also, is there a plan to include vacancy info in the govtrack data set?
              >
              > Thanks,
              >
              > --
              > David Steinbrunner
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • David Steinbrunner
              ... So the Clerk s site currently saying 0 vacancies is technically not correct it seems. In the subject of vacancy data, having a sworn in date or datetime
              Message 7 of 11 , Jan 6, 2011
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                On 1/6/11 10:05 AM, "Derek Willis" <dwillis@...> wrote:

                >I've contacted the Clerk's office before about this issue but it's
                >still there, so take that for what it's worth. I should note that in
                >Gary Miller's case, as in Peter DeFazio of Oregon this term, the seat
                >is "vacant" because both men were not present on the first day of the
                >session to be sworn in, and thus were not sworn in at that time. So
                >the Clerk is technically correct, I suppose, even though DeFazio is
                >the duly elected member from Oregon's 4th District. But if they're not
                >sworn in, they can't vote, so I don't think this is truly an error.

                So the Clerk's site currently saying 0 vacancies is technically not
                correct it seems.

                In the subject of vacancy data, having a sworn in date or datetime would
                be helpful for this type of situation.

                Thanks again,

                --
                David Steinbrunner
              • Derek Willis
                Well, DeFazio was just sworn in, so now it s correct :-) On Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 10:47 AM, David Steinbrunner
                Message 8 of 11 , Jan 6, 2011
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                  Well, DeFazio was just sworn in, so now it's correct :-)

                  On Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 10:47 AM, David Steinbrunner
                  <dsteinbrunner@...> wrote:
                  > On 1/6/11 10:05 AM, "Derek Willis" <dwillis@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >>I've contacted the Clerk's office before about this issue but it's
                  >>still there, so take that for what it's worth. I should note that in
                  >>Gary Miller's case, as in Peter DeFazio of Oregon this term, the seat
                  >>is "vacant" because both men were not present on the first day of the
                  >>session to be sworn in, and thus were not sworn in at that time. So
                  >>the Clerk is technically correct, I suppose, even though DeFazio is
                  >>the duly elected member from Oregon's 4th District. But if they're not
                  >>sworn in, they can't vote, so I don't think this is truly an error.
                  >
                  > So the Clerk's site currently saying 0 vacancies is technically not
                  > correct it seems.
                  >
                  > In the subject of vacancy data, having a sworn in date or datetime would
                  > be helpful for this type of situation.
                  >
                  > Thanks again,
                  >
                  > --
                  > David Steinbrunner
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
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