- Watch floor votes in real time
- Used by both parties & free to download
- Get live vote totals
- App sparsely updated
- Only for iPhone & iPad
Out of all the tech built to connect lawmakers, their staff, and the many stakeholders involved in the House of Representatives, Whip Watch is a real stand out for Congressional insiders. The Office of House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) initially released the app in 2015 with the intention to service Democratic members and their staff; however, the app has grown in popularity to be used by both parties and is now in its second iteration.
Whip Watch 2.0
Whip Watch was developed as an application to merely track scheduled votes, events, and calendars for Democrats on the Hill. Therefore the content was geared for their caucus members and Capitol Hill staff.
Now in Version 2.0, which was released March 30, 2017, during the first half of the first session of the 115th Congress, the application has more functionality.
You can watch votes in real time, get live vote totals, and view regularly updated content that describes the topic of particular legislation and amendments. Additionally, Version 2.0 of Whip Watch stabilized the app’s user interface while maintaining its original functionality. Personalizing the interface is straightforward. Users can easily customize the flow of information they view on the app and toggle notifications. Hoyer’s office developed the application while using information from a publicly-available API developed by Capitol Bells.
Only two updates
Despite the benefits the application has presented, it still has one very minor limitation. This assessment is due to the slow process in which Whip Watch is updated. The time between the initial app release and Version 2.0 has been nearly two years. But, there’s honestly nothing else to mention on this front.
As of the publication of this review, the release of the next update is unknown. But, any future iteration of the application should be built to facilitate the growing volume of users and offer more bipartisan content.
Whip Watch is available for a free download in the Apple App Store. It has been downloaded over 30,000 times and is utilized not only by members of Congress and staff but by reporters, lobbyists, and the casual observer for a total of 3,000 regular users.
What we think
Whip Watch is an exceptional tool for tracking votes. There are few setbacks in using this tool–besides the naturally Democratic focus of the app‘s content. Unfortunately, the benefits of Whip Watch are restricted to users who have an Apple device. Android phone users are fresh out of luck.