Fun with Political Widgets
BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 24 2007
Want to dress up your website with political data? Just add a widget or badge to your site. Here are a couple of fun options you can play with:
Just out from the good folks at Maplight.org: Presidential fundraising widgets that you can customize by color, size and which candidates you want to display.
Maplight has also started publishing an API for web developers who want to display or share up-to-date campaign contribution info from the FEC. Both services are free and open source. The free widgets are funded by MAPLight.org's $25,000 first prize win at the NetSquared Innovation awards, a contest for the best nonprofit technology project worldwide, and by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington, DC-based foundation dedicated to government transparency. (Full disclosure: Andrew Rasiej and I are both consultants to the Sunlight Foundation.) Maplight promises more fun widgets to come, including one that reveals correlations between campaign contributions and votes for any bill in Congress. Yum.
The folks at OpenCongress.org, another Sunlight grantee, have rolled out some new widgets for tracking bills and issues in Congress. You can select a bill, or any one of more than 4,000 issue areas and display the most recent or most viewed bills in that area. So, for example, if you wanted to track bills relating to the president and foreign policy, your widget would look like this:
oc_host_url = "http://www.opencongress.org/";
oc_issue_id = "4339";
oc_item_type = "new-bill";
oc_bgcolor = "ffffff";
oc_textcolor = "333333";
oc_bordercolor = "999999";
Of course, you can also show readers how the candidates are doing on MySpace by embedding techPresident's friends badge.
Colin Delany already blogged about Grist magazine's "How Green is Your Candidate?" widget, so I won't go on about that here. Got a pointer to other political widgets that you like? Pile on in the comments.