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Connect 2 Congress Lets You Track Your Senator, One Vote at a Time

By Georgia Institute of Technology

April 16, 2010

Georgia Institute of Technology student Peter Kinnaird has developed Connect 2 Congress, software that tracked how senators voted in the 110th U.S. Congress. Connect 2 Congress works by analyzing congressional voting records, obtained from GovTrack.us, with a type of mathematical analysis called a Poole-Rosenthal score.

Connect 2 Congress assigns a value to every vote. Each yes vote received a one and each no vote received a zero. Senators who abstained from voting received a nine, which excluded them from the count for that issue. Once the numbers are assigned, the system creates a graph so that users can get a quick overview of Congress, or examine changes in behavior over time.

Connect 2 Congress also conducted a leadership analysis on each member. "So, if you sponsor a bill you get a full point, and if you co-sponsor a bill you get anywhere from no points to a full point, depending on when you attached your name to it," Kinnaird says. He is building a new version of Connect 2 Congress that tracks the current 111th Congress. Kinnaird also plans to release a version for the House of Representatives.

View a video with a description of Connect 2 Congress visual analytics software by developer Kinnaird.

From Georgia Institute of Technology
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