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Using the API

This document describes what you need to know to use the Google Civic Information API. See two examples below, first for looking up voter information during an election, and second for looking up elected representatives.

Identifying your application to Google

Your application needs to identify itself every time it sends a request to the Google Civic Information API, by including an API key with each request.

Acquiring and using an API key

To acquire an API key:

  1. Go to the Google Developers Console.
  2. Select a project, or create a new one.
  3. In the sidebar on the left, expand APIs & auth. Next, click APIs. Select the Enabled APIs link in the API section to see a list of all your enabled APIs. Make sure that the Google Civic Information API is on the list of enabled APIs. If you have not enabled it, select the API from the list of APIs, then select the Enable API button for the API.
  4. In the sidebar on the left, select Credentials.
  5. This API supports two types of credentials. Create whichever credentials are appropriate for your project:
    • OAuth: Your application must send an OAuth 2.0 token with any request that accesses private user data. Your application sends a client ID and, possibly, a client secret to obtain a token. You can generate OAuth 2.0 credentials for web applications, service accounts, or installed applications.

      To create an OAuth 2.0 token, click Create new Client ID, provide the required information where requested, and click Create Client ID.

      You can generate OAuth 2.0 credentials for web applications, service accounts, or installed applications.

      Web applications

      A web application is accessed by web browsers over a network.

      • Applications that use JavaScript to access the Google Civic Information API must specify authorized JavaScript origins. The origins identify the domains from which your application can send API requests.
      • Applications that use languages and frameworks like PHP, Java, Python, Ruby, and .NET must specify authorized redirect URIs. The redirect URIs are the endpoints to which the OAuth 2.0 server can send responses.

      Service accounts

      A service account is used in an application that calls APIs on behalf of an application that does not access user information. This type of application needs to prove its own identity, but it does not need a user to authorize requests. The Google Accounts documentation contains more details about service accounts.

      Installed applications

      An installed application runs on a desktop computer or handheld device. You can create OAuth 2.0 credentials for Android, Chrome, iOS, and other installed applications.

      Android

      You need to specify your Android app's package name and SHA1 fingerprint.

      1. In the Package name field, enter your Android app's package name.
      2. In a terminal, run the Keytool utility to get the SHA1 fingerprint for your digitally signed .apk file's public certificate.
        keytool -exportcert -alias androiddebugkey -keystore path-to-debug-or-production-keystore -list -v

        The Keytool prints the fingerprint to the shell. For example:

        $ keytool -exportcert -alias androiddebugkey -keystore ~/.android/debug.keystore -list -v
        Enter keystore password: Type "android" if using debug.keystore
        Alias name: androiddebugkey
        Creation date: Aug 27, 2012
        Entry type: PrivateKeyEntry
        Certificate chain length: 1
        Certificate[1]:
        Owner: CN=Android Debug, O=Android, C=US
        Issuer: CN=Android Debug, O=Android, C=US
        Serial number: 503bd581
        Valid from: Mon Aug 27 13:16:01 PDT 2012 until: Wed Aug 20 13:16:01 PDT 2042
        Certificate fingerprints:
           MD5:  1B:2B:2D:37:E1:CE:06:8B:A0:F0:73:05:3C:A3:63:DD
           SHA1: D8:AA:43:97:59:EE:C5:95:26:6A:07:EE:1C:37:8E:F4:F0:C8:05:C8
           SHA256: F3:6F:98:51:9A:DF:C3:15:4E:48:4B:0F:91:E3:3C:6A:A0:97:DC:0A:3F:B2:D2:E1:FE:23:57:F5:EB:AC:13:30
           Signature algorithm name: SHA1withRSA
           Version: 3

        Copy the SHA1 fingerprint, which is highlighted in the example above.

      3. Paste the SHA1 fingerprint into the form where requested.
      4. Click Create Client ID.

      Chrome application

      You need to specify the Application ID for your Chrome app or extension. Use the Google Chrome Identity API to obtain that ID.

    • iOS

      You need to specify the app's Bundle ID and App Store ID.

      • The application's Bundle ID is the bundle identifier as listed in the app's .plist file. For example: com.example.myapp.
      • The application's App Store ID is in the app's iTunes URL so long as the app was published in the Apple iTunes App Store. For example, in the app URL http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google+/id447119634, the App Store ID is 447119634.

      Other

      The Developers Console does not require any additional information to create OAuth 2.0 credentials for other types of installed applications.

    • Public API access: A request that does not provide an OAuth 2.0 token must send an API key. The key identifies your project and provides API access, quota, and reports.

      The API supports several types of API keys. If the key type that you need does not already exist, create an API key by selecting Create New Key and then selecting the appropriate key type. Then enter the additional data for that key type and click Create.

      Server keys

      Create and use a server key if your application runs on a server. Do not use this key outside of your server code. For example, do not embed it in a web page. To prevent quota theft, restrict your key so that requests are only allowed from your servers' source IP addresses.

      Browser keys

      Create and use a browser key if your application runs on a client, such as a web browser. To prevent your key from being used on unauthorized sites, only allow referrals from domains you administer.

      iOS keys

      Create and use an iOS key if your application runs on iOS devices. Google verifies that each request originates from an iOS application that matches one of the bundle identifiers you specify. An app's .plist file contains its bundle identifier. Example: com.example.MyApp

      Android keys

      Create and use an Android key if your application runs on Android devices. To do so, you need to specify the SHA1 fingerprints and package names of the application using that key.

      1. In a terminal, run the Keytool utility to get the SHA1 fingerprint for your digitally signed .apk file's public certificate.
        keytool -exportcert -alias androiddebugkey -keystore path-to-debug-or-production-keystore -list -v

        The Keytool prints the fingerprint to the shell. For example:

        $ keytool -exportcert -alias androiddebugkey -keystore ~/.android/debug.keystore -list -v
        Enter keystore password: Type "android" if using debug.keystore
        Alias name: androiddebugkey
        Creation date: Aug 27, 2012
        Entry type: PrivateKeyEntry
        Certificate chain length: 1
        Certificate[1]:
        Owner: CN=Android Debug, O=Android, C=US
        Issuer: CN=Android Debug, O=Android, C=US
        Serial number: 503bd581
        Valid from: Mon Aug 27 13:16:01 PDT 2012 until: Wed Aug 20 13:16:01 PDT 2042
        Certificate fingerprints:
           MD5:  1B:2B:2D:37:E1:CE:06:8B:A0:F0:73:05:3C:A3:63:DD
           SHA1: D8:AA:43:97:59:EE:C5:95:26:6A:07:EE:1C:37:8E:F4:F0:C8:05:C8
           SHA256: F3:6F:98:51:9A:DF:C3:15:4E:48:4B:0F:91:E3:3C:6A:A0:97:DC:0A:3F:B2:D2:E1:FE:23:57:F5:EB:AC:13:30
           Signature algorithm name: SHA1withRSA
           Version: 3

        Copy the SHA1 fingerprint, which is highlighted in the example above.

      2. Paste the SHA1 fingerprint into the form where requested.
      3. After the fingerprint, type a semicolon and then enter your Android app's package name.
      4. Click Create.

To keep your API keys secure, follow the best practices for securely using API keys.

After you have an API key, your application can append the query parameter key=yourAPIKey to all request URLs.

The API key is safe for embedding in URLs; it doesn't need any encoding.

electionQuery Example

Here's an example (using API version 'v2') of calling the electionQuery API to obtain a list of valid election IDs, then using the voterInfoQuery API with a voter's registered address to obtain information for a selected election.

Use electionQuery to get a list of valid election Ids:

  https://www.googleapis.com/civicinfo/v2/elections?key=<YOUR_API_KEY>
  

electionQuery Response:

  
{
 "kind": "civicinfo#electionsqueryresponse",
 "elections": [
  {
   "id": "2000",
   "name": "VIP Test Election",
   "electionDay": "2013-06-06"
  },
  {
   "id": "2124",
   "name": "Rhode Island 2012 Primary Election",
   "electionDay": "2012-09-11"
  },
  {
   "id": "2126",
   "name": "Delaware 2012 Primary Election",
   "electionDay": "2012-09-11"
  }
 ]
}

voterInfoQuery using curl

Use curl to send a voterInfoQuery request for VIP test election ID 2000 and voter at (test) address 1263 Pacific Ave. Kansas City, KS (see voterInfoQuery response, below):

curl "https://www.googleapis.com/civicinfo/v2/voterinfo?key=<YOUR_API_KEY>&address=1263%20Pacific%20Ave.%20Kansas%20City%20KS&electionId=2000"

voterInfoQuery using the Google API Client Library for JavaScript

This example issues the same voterInfoQuery as the previous curl example, but it uses the JavaScript client library. The voterInfoQuery response is the same as the curl example response.


<!doctype html>
<html>
  <head>
    <script>
      /**
       * Build and execute request to look up voter info for provided address.
       * @param {string} address Address for which to fetch voter info.
       * @param {function(Object)} callback Function which takes the
       *     response object as a parameter.
       */
       function lookup(address, callback) {
       /**
         * Election ID for which to fetch voter info.
         * @type {number}
         */
        var electionId = 2000;
   
        /**
         * Request object for given parameters.
         * @type {gapi.client.HttpRequest}
         */
        var req = gapi.client.request({
            'path' : '/civicinfo/v2/voterinfo',
            'params' : {'electionId' : electionId, 'address' : address}
        });
       req.execute(callback);
      }

      /**
       * Render results in the DOM.
       * @param {Object} response Response object returned by the API.
       * @param {Object} rawResponse Raw response from the API.
       */
      function renderResults(response, rawResponse) {
        var el = document.getElementById('results');
        if (!response || response.error) {
          el.appendChild(document.createTextNode(
              'Error while trying to fetch polling place'));
          return;
        }
        var normalizedAddress = response.normalizedInput.line1 + ' ' +
            response.normalizedInput.city + ', ' +
            response.normalizedInput.state + ' ' +
            response.normalizedInput.zip;
        if (response.pollingLocations.length > 0) {
          var pollingLocation = response.pollingLocations[0].address;
          var pollingAddress = pollingLocation.locationName + ', ' +
              pollingLocation.line1 + ' ' +
              pollingLocation.city + ', ' +
              pollingLocation.state + ' ' +
              pollingLocation.zip;
          var normEl = document.createElement('strong');
          normEl.appendChild(document.createTextNode(
              'Polling place for ' + normalizedAddress + ': '));
          el.appendChild(normEl);
          el.appendChild(document.createTextNode(pollingAddress));
        } else {
          el.appendChild(document.createTextNode(
              'Could not find polling place for ' + normalizedAddress));
        }
      }

      /**
       * Initialize the API client and make a request.
       */
      function load() {
        gapi.client.setApiKey('YOUR API KEY GOES HERE');
        lookup('1263 Pacific Ave. Kansas City KS', renderResults);
      }
    </script>
    <script src="https://apis.google.com/js/client.js?onload=load"></script>
  </head>
  <body>
    <div id="results"></div>
  </body>
</html>

voterInfoQuery Response:

{
 "kind": "civicinfo#voterinforesponse",
 "status": "success",
 "election": {
  "id": "2000",
  "name": "VIP Test Election",
  "electionDay": "2013-06-06"
 },
 "normalizedInput": {
  "line1": "1263 Pacific Ave",
  "city": "Kansas City",
  "state": "KS",
  "zip": "66102"
 },
 "pollingLocations": [
  {
   "address": {
    "locationName": "National Guard Armory",
    "line1": "100 S 20th St",
    "line2": "",
    "line3": "",
    "city": "Kansas City",
    "state": "KS",
    "zip": "66102 "
   },
   "pollingHours": " - "
  }
 ],
 "contests": [
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Attorney"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Sheriff"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Kansas Representative 32",
   "district": {
    "name": "Kansas Representative 32",
    "scope": "stateLower",
    "id": "32"
   },
   "sources": [
    {
     "name": "Voting Information Project",
     "official": true
    }
   ]
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Governor/Lt. Governor",
   "candidates": [
    {
     "name": "Andrew P.  Gray",
     "party": "Libertarian",
     "email": "chair@lpks.org"
    },
    {
     "name": "Kenneth (ken) W. Cannon",
     "party": "Reform"
    },
    {
     "name": "Tom Holland",
     "party": "Democratic",
     "candidateUrl": "www.tomhollandforkansas.com",
     "email": "info@tomhollandforkansas.com"
    },
    {
     "name": "Sam Brownback",
     "party": "Republican",
     "candidateUrl": "www.brownbackforkansas.com",
     "email": "media@brownback.com"
    }
   ]
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "KCKCC Member AL Brd of Trustee"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Secretary of State",
   "candidates": [
    {
     "name": "Chris Biggs",
     "party": "Democratic"
    },
    {
     "name": "Kris Kobach",
     "party": "Republican"
    },
    {
     "name": "Phillip Horatio Lucas",
     "party": "Libertarian"
    },
    {
     "name": "Derek Langseth",
     "party": "Reform"
    }
   ]
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "U.S. Senate",
   "district": {
    "name": "U.S. Senate",
    "scope": "statewide",
    "id": "5"
   },
   "candidates": [
    {
     "name": "Lisa Johnston",
     "party": "Democratic",
     "candidateUrl": "www.lisaforkansas.com",
     "phone": "913-662-1457",
     "email": "lisa@lisaforkansas.com"
    },
    {
     "name": "Jerry Moran",
     "party": "Republican"
    },
    {
     "name": "Michael Wm. Dann",
     "party": "Libertarian"
    },
    {
     "name": "Joseph (joe) K. Bellis",
     "party": "Reform"
    }
   ],
   "sources": [
    {
     "name": "Voting Information Project",
     "official": true
    }
   ]
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "BD of Public Utilities 2"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Attorney General",
   "candidates": [
    {
     "name": "Steve Six",
     "party": "Democratic"
    },
    {
     "name": "Derek Schmidt",
     "party": "Republican"
    },
    {
     "name": "Dennis Hawver",
     "party": "Libertarian"
    }
   ]
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "U.S. Representative 3"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Governor/Lt. Governor",
   "district": {
    "name": "Governor/Lt. Governor",
    "scope": "statewide",
    "id": "1"
   },
   "candidates": [
    {
     "name": "Andrew P.  Gray",
     "party": "Libertarian",
     "email": "chair@lpks.org"
    },
    {
     "name": "Kenneth (ken) W. Cannon",
     "party": "Reform"
    },
    {
     "name": "Tom Holland",
     "party": "Democratic",
     "candidateUrl": "www.tomhollandforkansas.com",
     "email": "info@tomhollandforkansas.com"
    },
    {
     "name": "Sam Brownback",
     "party": "Republican",
     "candidateUrl": "www.brownbackforkansas.com",
     "email": "media@brownback.com"
    }
   ],
   "sources": [
    {
     "name": "Voting Information Project",
     "official": true
    }
   ]
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Commissioner-At-Large 2"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Kansas Senate 6"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Clerk"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "President / Vice President"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Register of Deeds"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "BD of Public Utilities (AL)"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Commissioner 2"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "USD 500"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "State Board of Education 1"
  },
  {
   "type": "General",
   "office": "Treasurer"
  }
 ],
 "state": [
  {
   "name": "State of Kansas",
   "electionAdministrationBody": {
    "name": "Kansas",
    "electionOfficials": [
     {
      "name": "Brad Bryant",
      "title": "Election Director",
      "officePhoneNumber": "785-296-4561",
      "emailAddress": "cclark@essvote.com"
     }
    ]
   },
   "local_jurisdiction": {
    "name": "Wyandotte",
    "electionAdministrationBody": {
     "name": "Wyandotte",
     "electionInfoUrl": "http://www.wycokck.org/election",
     "electionOfficials": [
      {
       "name": "Bruce Newby",
       "title": "Election Commissioner",
       "officePhoneNumber": "(913) 573-8500",
       "emailAddress": "hbbrooks@essvote.com"
      }
     ]
    },
    "sources": [
     {
      "name": "Voting Information Project",
      "official": true
     }
    ]
   },
   "sources": [
    {
     "name": "Voting Information Project",
     "official": true
    }
   ]
  }
 ]
}

representativeInfoQuery using curl

Here's an example of looking up elected representatives for an address. Use curl to send a representativeInfoByAddress request for the (test) address 1263 Pacific Ave. Kansas City, KS (see representativeInfoByAddress response, below):

curl "https://www.googleapis.com/civicinfo/v2/representatives?key=<YOUR_API_KEY>&address=1263%20Pacific%20Ave.%20Kansas%20City%20KS"

Reporting an error

Do you see missing or incorrect information for an elected official? Public officials sometimes leave office before their term is finished or change their contact information. Tell us about changes like these that aren't yet reflected in the data we return.

We’ll confirm your report with other users, data providers, or official government data sources. Due to the volume of reports, we may not be able to respond to you directly. If approved, your change may take some time to appear in the API results.

To report an error, fill out this form.

representativeInfoByAddress Response:

{
 "kind": "civicinfo#representativeInfoResponse",
 "status": "success",
 "normalizedInput": {
  "line1": "1263 pacific ave",
  "city": "kansas city",
  "state": "KS",
  "zip": "66102"
 },
 "divisions": {
  "ocd-division/country:us/state:ks/county:wyandotte/council_district:2": {
   "name": "Wyandotte County Commissioner District 2",
   "scope": "countyCouncil"
  },
  "ocd-division/country:us/state:ks/cd:3": {
   "name": "Kansas's 3rd congressional district",
   "scope": "congressional",
   "officeIndices": [ 0 ]
  },
  "ocd-division/country:us/state:ks/sldl:32": {
   "name": "Kansas House of Representatives district 32",
   "scope": "stateLower",
   "officeIndices": [ 1 ]
  },
  "ocd-division/country:us/state:ks/place:kansas_city": {
   "name": "Kansas City city",
   "scope": "citywide",
   "officeIndices": [ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 ]
  },
  "ocd-division/country:us/state:ks/county:wyandotte": {
   "name": "Wyandotte County",
   "scope": "countywide"
  },
  "ocd-division/country:us": {
   "name": "United States",
   "scope": "national",
   "officeIndices": [ 9, 10 ]
  },
  "ocd-division/country:us/state:ks": {
   "name": "Kansas",
   "scope": "statewide",
   "officeIndices": [ 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 ]
  },
  "ocd-division/country:us/state:ks/sldu:6": {
   "name": "Kansas State Senate district 6",
   "scope": "stateUpper",
   "officeIndices": [ 18 ]
  }
 },
 "offices": [
  {
   "name": "United States House of Representatives KS-03",
   "level": "federal",
   "officialIndices": [ 0 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "KS State House District 32",
   "level": "state",
   "officialIndices": [ 1 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Sheriff",
   "level": "county",
   "officialIndices": [ 2 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "District Attorney",
   "level": "county",
   "officialIndices": [ 3 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Register of Deeds",
   "level": "county",
   "officialIndices": [ 4 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Director of Revenue",
   "level": "county",
   "officialIndices": [ 5 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Unified Government Clerk",
   "level": "county",
   "officialIndices": [ 6 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Unified Government Commission, At Large, District 1",
   "level": "county",
   "officialIndices": [ 7 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Unified Government Commission, At Large, District 2",
   "level": "county",
   "officialIndices": [ 8 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "President",
   "level": "federal",
   "officialIndices": [ 9 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Vice President",
   "level": "federal",
   "officialIndices": [ 10 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Governor",
   "level": "state",
   "officialIndices": [ 11 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "State Treasurer",
   "level": "state",
   "officialIndices": [ 12 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Attorney General",
   "level": "state",
   "officialIndices": [ 13 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Secretary of State",
   "level": "state",
   "officialIndices": [ 14 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Lieutenant Governor",
   "level": "state",
   "officialIndices": [ 15 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "United States Senate",
   "level": "federal",
   "officialIndices": [ 16, 17 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Insurance Commissioner",
   "level": "state",
   "officialIndices": [ 18 ]
  },
  {
   "name": "KS State Senate District 6",
   "level": "state",
   "officialIndices": [ 19 ]
  }
 ],
 "officials": [
  {
   "name": "Kevin Yoder",
   "address": [
    {
     "line1": "215 Cannon HOB",
     "city": "washington d.c.",
     "state": "DC",
     "zip": "20515"
    }
   ],
   "party": "Republican",
   "phones": [
    "(202) 225-2865"
   ],
   "urls": [
    "http://yoder.house.gov/"
   ],
   "photoUrl": "http://yoder.house.gov/images/user_images/headshot.jpg",
   "channels": [
    {
     "type": "Facebook",
     "id": "CongressmanKevinYoder"
    },
    {
     "type": "Twitter",
     "id": "RepKevinYoder"
    }
   ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Mike Peterson",
   "address": [
    {
     "line1": "450 North 17th",
     "city": "kansas city",
     "state": "KS",
     "zip": "66102"
    }
   ],
   "party": "Democratic",
   "phones": [
    "(785) 296-7371"
   ],
   "urls": [
    "http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/members/rep_peterson_michael_1/"
   ],
   "photoUrl": "http://www.kslegislature.org/li/m/images/pics/rep_peterson_michael_1.jpg",
   "emails": [
    "michael.peterson@house.ks.gov"
   ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Donald Ash",
   "address": [
    {
     "line1": "701 Nth 7th Street Suite 20",
     "city": "kansas city",
     "state": "KS",
     "zip": "66101"
    }
   ],
   "party": "Democratic",
   "phones": [
    "(913) 573-2861"
   ],
   "urls": [
    "http://www.wycokck.org/DefaultDept32.aspx?id=2614"
   ],
   "emails": [
    "dash@wycokck.org"
   ]
  },
  {
   "name": "Jerome Gorman",
   "address": [
    {
     "line1": "701 Nth 7th Street Suite 10",
     "city": "kansas city",
     "state": "KS",
     "zip": "66101"
    }
   ],
   "party": "Democratic",
   "phones": [
    "(913) 573-2851"
   ],
   "urls": [
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 ]
}