Changelog for VS Canvasser mobile app

Note that while Android and iOS release versions are coordinated, not every version is released on both platforms.  Generally, the Android builds are a bit more frequent, due to the higher market penetration and the fact that I personally test it in the field daily.

Here is a quick summary of the changes introduced with each release:

Release: 1.5
Sep 5, 9:50 PM: Full rollout. (Promoted from beta 1.5)

– Added voter history into ListView voter description
– Added household count to ListView household icon
– Fixed NullReferenceException in DetailView
– Updated to latest CarouselView and Xamarin.Forms packages
– Replaced various 3rd-party plug-ins with Xamarin.Essentials

Release: 1.4.2
July 24, 2:30 AM: Full rollout. (Promoted from beta 1.4.2)

– Restored WebVew hosted in NavigationPage for login
– Added Log In menu command
– Updated to pre-release Xamarin.Forms (fixed issue #2393)

Release: 1.4.1
July 20, 11:22 PM: Full rollout. (Promoted from beta 1.4.1)

– New menu item to Share sheet with other users
– Added transfer token for Plug-ins button to bypass Web client login
– Switched to using App Center errors to report exception handling
– Switch to CarouselView from Andrei Misiukevich to work around Issue #2637
– Swiping in CarouselView will now wrap around
– Fixed delay in bringing up Settings panel
– Sort by distance is now updated live as position changes

Release: 1.3.6
July 7, 5:10 PM: Full rollout. (Promoted from beta 1.3.6)

– Pins now update color and opacity with incremental sync of voter records

Release: 1.3.5
Jul 3, 11:33 PM: Full rollout. (Promoted from beta 1.3.5)

– Manual upload to cloud now syncs changes in all sheets, not just current one.
– Alert now displayed when manual upload is unsuccessful.
– Fixed closest household button
– Handled phone number formatting overflow
– Streamlined conversion for string types
– Switched to chat keyboard for comments
– Refined voter detail panel

Release: 1.3.3
Jul 1, 9:05 PM: Full rollout. (Promoted from beta 1.3.3)

– App name change to Canvasser, with new adaptive icon
– Back button from main page navigates to parent sheet
– Added Plug-in button in SheetDetailPage
– Added detail section on VoterDetailPage for custom columns
– Preserves last visible region for each sheet
– Fixes missing map pins after extended load
– Updated logic for dimming households (visited or all members dimmed)
– Filtered voters now show as dimmed
– Added automatic sync after connectivity is restored or successful login
– Exception handling for failed OpenSheet (e.g. loss of permission)
– Fixed household member list opacity update
– Updated target URL for Learn More button in About
– Simplification of WebView-based login/logout, with new icon

Release: 1.2.2
Apr 24, 8:33 PM: Full rollout. (Promoted from beta 1.2.2)

– Reverting to CarouselPage to try to work around infrequent crash from ObjectDisposedException
– Maintains sorted order of household members when switching to voter detail page

Release: 1.2.1
Apr 19, 8:37 PM: Full rollout.

– Added SearchBar on List tab
– Added male and female avatars
– Fixed icon color update
– Sorts household members by age
– Possible fix for System.ObjectDisposedException

Release: 1.2
Apr 16, 8:30 AM: Full rollout.

– New buttons on voter detail page to dial phone number and send email
– Auto formatting of phone number (US only)
– Preferred virtual keyboard variants for phone number and email entry
– Upgrade to ProGuard 6.0.2 bytecode optimization

Release: 1.1.3
Apr 12, 4:57 PM: Full rollout. (Promoted from beta 1.1.3)

– Sync changes when app sent to background
– Scroll corresponding list item into view when pin selected on map
– Added completion percentage to the sheet Info page
– Fixed off-by-one bug when applying missed changes from other users

Release: 1.1.2
Apr 6, 10:20 PM: Full rollout.

– Rolled back to Xamarin Forms v2.5.0.280555 to work around WebView login bug

Release: 1.1.1
Apr 6, 3:28 PM: Full rollout.

– Clears WebView cache after logout so that previous user’s cookies aren’t still present
– Fixes performance issues with CarouselPage by switching to CarouselView, which supports UI virtualization
– Fixes a crash when location services goes unexpectedly offline
– Fixed crash caused on some configurations by CarouselView linker error

Release: 1.1
Apr 3, 3:02 PM: Full rollout. (Promoted from beta 1.1)

– Swipe left or right in household or voter detail panels for next & previous
– My location button in household detail view to quickly index to closest address
– New default sorting of households is by address
– Exception handling for failed DateTime parsing

How partisan are WA organizational donors?

In previous posts we’ve looked at how our political system has become increasingly polarized, with our analysis of voting records showing that many self-styled moderates and independents are exhibiting much more partisan behavior when voting on the House or Senate floor.  Having served for a few years now on a PDC open data advisory group, I realized that the same type of analysis could be done for organizational donors.  Despite this being public data, not many people in Washington state know who the biggest political donors are, much less who they support.

So, are many of these “non-partisan” or “bi-partisan” organizational donors more partisan than they let on?

We can figure this out, and the methodology is pretty simple.  The PDC Open Data Portal publishes all contributions to candidates and political committees back to 2008.  For this first analysis, we looked at donations to partisan legislative and statewide candidates from businesses, unions and political action committees.  The partisanship score for each donor is the difference in percentage of donations by party, giving each a range from 100 (exclusively Republican) to -100 (exclusively Democrat).

Most of the effort here is involved with the fuzzy matching algorithm, since candidates are very inconsistent on how they report the names of these organizations to the PDC.  I use a trigram matching method, which isn’t perfect…but it does pretty well.  Currently, contributions are grouped under the same donor if 80% or more of the trigrams match, but this is adjustable.

Here are the results:

Partisan Donors (2008-18)

If you visit WhipStat.com, you’ll now find an interactive and animated version of our organizational donor partisan analysis that allows you to filter by jurisdiction type and date range.

Filters

If you’d like to do further analysis, feel free to hit the Download button for a tab-delimited table of the charted data.  Note that for now we don’t display or download the complete donor dataset, as that includes over 8,000 organizations.

A few things become apparent when reviewing the results:

  • Some of the biggest legislative donors give heavily to candidates from both parties.
  • About 6% more is given to Democrats than Republicans in legislative races, but that increases to 28% when looking at statewide races.

Up next:  We’ll take a close look at hard money vs. soft money contributions.

Analyzing the WA Political Spectrum

It’s no secret that our political system has become increasingly polarized in recent years.  In fact, Pew Research regularly publishes studies on the topic and the situation is perhaps more grim than you might think.  Looking back over the past 60 years, Congress has never been so politically divided, and the result is D.C. gridlock.

So how bad is the situation here in Washington State?

After serving two terms now in the House of Representatives and being elected to caucus leadership, I have my opinions.  There’s certainly evidence to support the assertion that the Legislature is doing much better than Congress, but the partisan divide is alive and well in Olympia.  Rather than rely on anecdotal evidence, I was inspired by what Pew and others have done and set out to quantify the problem.

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A couple of weeks ago I published my first analysis of the partisan distribution of the Washington State Legislature.  It also included a Partisan Leaderboard, calling out the members who are least and most likely to cross the aisle.

The methodology is simple:  The partisanship score for each floor vote is calculated as the percentage of Republican supporters minus the percentage of Democrat supporters, giving each a range from 100 (exclusively Republican) to -100 (exclusively Democrat) with unanimous votes scoring zero.  The member’s aggregate score is just the average of all the scores of floor votes they supported, minus the scores from those they opposed.

This approach is different than many other studies like the McCarty & Shor (2015) Measuring American Legislatures Project, which use the Political Courage Test (former National Political Awareness Test).  Theirs are based on subjective questionnaires, while our scores are based on recorded floor votes.

Now we’ve taken this analysis to the next level…

Screenshot

If you visit WhipStat.com, you’ll now find an interactive and animated version of our partisan analysis that allows you to filter by policy area, chamber and date range.  Each member is “stacked” in a histogram, allowing you to roll over the chart and see more detailed information in tooltips.  Also, the median Democrat and Republican scores are indicated as vertical lines.  (Technically, the median is more meaningful than the average for these scores, with half the members being above and half below the line.)

And finally, this updated analysis includes floor votes on amendments, so the scores may be slightly different than those previously published.

Capture

If you’d like to do further analysis, feel free to hit the Download button for a tab-delimited table of the charted data.

A few things become apparent when reviewing the results:

  • Democrats are typically over twice as partisan as Republicans, and even more so in years when there was divided control of the House and Senate.
  • The majority party will control the floor agenda, and so will exhibit more “cohesion” and be less likely to allow members to cross the aisle.
  • The Democrat-controlled House was over twice as likely than the Republican-controlled Senate to bring bills to the floor that were rejected by the opposing party.
  • Some members show willingness to regularly cross the aisle for specific policy areas that are important to them or their constituents.  Lobbyists and advocates should take note of these policy areas.

Conclusion

Our goal here is simple:  To provide some transparency into partisan behavior in our state legislature.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a partisan voter, and one could argue that a certain degree of caucus cohesion is necessary to be a functioning majority.  However, many constituents elected their representatives with the expectation that they would exercise independent thought and work aggressively across the aisle to get results.  What they may discover looking at this data is that some of their representatives are more loyal to their partisan ideology than they are to a process that involves compromise to find common ground.  Given the example being set in Washington D.C., I also think we should take this moment to recognize those members on both sides of the aisle with the courage to break the partisan gridlock and work in the best interests of our entire state.  If you consider yourself an independent, these members deserve your support.