Earlier this year, the Postman team learned a lot when we built the COVID-19 API Resource Center. In response to the global pandemic, we managed to create 16 API collections to help in the fight against the virus, which in turn brought in another 36 collections from Postman users—and there are still 25 more APIs waiting to have Postman Collections created for them. The project really motivated our community to step up and demonstrate how APIs can help address what is going on in the world today. After the success of that effort, we wanted to see what we could do when it comes to another matter that is top of mind for so many people right now: the 2020 U.S. election. With November 3 on the horizon, we recently created some interesting API collections and again encouraged the Postman community to provide valuable solutions addressing this year’s county, state, and federal elections.
The seeds of the 2020 U.S. Election API Resource Center
To help get the conversation started, we seeded the 2020 U.S. Election API Resource Center with a handful of collections featuring some of the leading APIs for making sense of elections. We’ve fleshed out collections for the following APIs to help developers onboard quicker and begin using them in their web and mobile applications:
- U.S. Census: Demographic, survey, and other resources from the U.S. Census Bureau, which provides the backbone of how elections work.
- OpenFEC: The root data source when it comes to politicians and the money behind them, accessing required reports via the Federal Election Commission (FEC) API.
- Metadata Technology North America Inc. (MTNA): A collection of election, polling, and other data across a variety of data sources, providing a single catalog of election data.
These three API resources provide a wealth of election-related data to better understand elections, campaigns, candidate data, census, committees, election officials, financing, news, population, and voting locations. These were the best sources of data we found for the current election. As with the COVID-19 resource center, we are looking to crowdsource the discovery of new APIs and data sources along with the creation of Postman Collections that help make the data more accessible to developers who are building applications and integrating election data into other systems.
Election API resources submitted by our community
Anyone in the community is invited to submit election-related APIs to be considered for inclusion in the 2020 U.S. Election API Resource Center by using our GitHub repository. We are accepting community contributions for APIs you have found or developed to answer questions related to the election. We are open to any election-related APIs, as long as it has a collection. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are a few ideas to help get your imagination going about APIs that are useful to developers in answering election-related questions:
- Polling Locations: Providing more details about where polling locations are within each county.
- Ballot Drop Boxes: Making the locations of ballot drop boxes across the areas where elections are occurring.
- Election Events: Aggregating lists of election-related events and making them available via an API.
- Volunteer Opportunities: Making sure all of the election volunteer opportunities are available via an API.
- Twitter Accounts and Hashtags: Providing easy-to-use collections for accessing data via the Twitter API.
- Polling Results: Making local, regional, and national polling data available via a machine-readable API.
Instead of having a single API that provides general election data, it will actually be more useful to have many localized APIs providing access to local and regional data sources—each maintained by developers who are engaged within the communities the data serves. This is where the Postman community comes into play. Just like we did with the COVID-19 resource center, we are hoping that we can all work together to help make sense of this election and publish API resources that will help give real-time insight into what is happening—and maybe even help us predict election outcomes.
Head over to the Postman 2020 U.S. Election API Resource Center to play around with the existing list to see what is possible. Then feel free to take a spin through the project’s GitHub issues and participate in the conversation. Want to roll up your sleeves and help publish some APIs yourself? Stake your claim and submit an issue outlining an API you plan on delivering. As we get closer to the election, we have a significant opportunity to take action. By gathering, aggregating, and organizing data from our local regions—which we can then publish as simple APIs—we can collectively provide the information needed to better navigate the elections at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels.
What do you think about this topic? Tell us in a comment below.