Open States

Methodology

Open States relies primarily on scraping to collect the data that we provide on this site.

Scraping involves writing custom code to capture the information from each state and as a result is known to be error prone. For example, if a state changes how they provide sponsor information it'll require a manual fix on our end and in the interim our data may be incomplete.

Why Scrape?

Despite the known limitations, scraping is typically our best option as most states do not make their data available in ways that are readily repurposed to build sites such as this one. Additionally, many states have older, often somewhat unreliable systems, and although we make our best effort to cope with the nuances of these systems there is always a chance that we make a mistake.

Reporting Issues

If you notice something missing, please don't hesitate to report it and we'll do our best to respond in a timely fashion. If you're so inclined you can also report your issue directly.

Other Changes

Aside from errors that may be introduced in the scrape process, we do not make any modifications to the data that we scrape. We augment the data in several places such as linking legislators to their votes and adding categories to actions and bills. If you notice something incorrect you should also check the source document (linked at the bottom of every page) and see if the error also occurs on your state's website. If the error exists on the source page there is little we can do until it is fixed. We recommend contacting them to see if the issue can be fixed on their end.