For the past several months, I've been building an app designed to work with contest data. Well actually I've been designing and planning this for much longer. Yesterday I finally got access to the contest data for arguably the most important election of our lives and I'm extremely disappointed:
1) The election data came too late. More than 75 million voters have already cast their ballots. Delivering contest data less than 1 week before the election has little to no value. It really makes me sad that so many people put together this data and it's not available for voters to actually use.
2) The election data doesn't match the API in 3 key areas.
2a) The contest id is missing. The api documentation had the unique identifier up until last month. Eliminating this makes it impossible to identify a unique contest. Uniqueness is kind of an important concept in software development. The fact that the api can't provide this is a critical gap.
2b) The district id is missing. My backup plan was to generate a surrogate unique id by using the location of the contest. Unfortunately, this field is missing now, which makes it impossible to reliably generate any sort of unique surrogate key.
2c) The referendumSubtitle is missing and was replaced by the referendumText. This was an easy thing to recover from. But it's frustrating that the data in the API seems to move around without any sort of notice. #BackwardsCompatibility
Issues 1, 2a, and 2b, make the Civic data completely useless for my use case and I suspect many other people's use cases. I have 2 questions at this point.
#1 Can these issues above be fixed in future elections?
#2 If not, then is anyone else interested in building an alternative to this project? This just isn't working for me at all.