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The Team

Building and maintaining Democracy Club's services is a long-term commitment, both in the run up to the elections held in May every year, and in keeping the underlying technology running year round.

Throughout the year, we also run an online community of around 1,000 members and a mailing list with 15K subscribers. Our volunteers are non-partisan, either interested in democracy, open source technology, or both.

The club is supported by a small core team and an experienced board of directors.

Peter Keeling

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Peter oversees the election administration and communications at Democracy Club, including polling stations and candidate information. He previously spent far too much time at university, and holds a PhD in nineteenth-century British political history.

Bobbi Westerman

Bobbi's background lies in political science and communications. Prior to joining Democracy Club as an Elections Assistant, she completed her Master’s degree in 2022, and previously worked in a communications capacity at a political research organisation.

Sym Roe

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Sym founded Democracy Club in mid-2014 and has since been co-director and CEO. He now heads up all technical and delivery operations.

Sym has 15 years experience in civic tech, open data, government and technology, for folks like ScraperWiki, Ministry of Justice and FarmSubsidy.org. He has never knowingly set foot in a school, lives in Stroud, has a dog with a hard to explain name, and is trying to rebuild a Cotswold stone house.

Will Roper

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Will started helping with data importing for the polling station finder in February 2019. There were enough elections in the subsequent months and years that he stuck around, helping out on various projects - mainly Where Do I Vote and Every Election.

Virginia Dooley

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With a background in international development, Virginia pivoted to coding after working with startups and charities struggling with outdated products and systems. Virginia joined Democracy Club in early 2021.

Ella Botting

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Alongside helping out with operational support at Democracy Club, Ella is a freelance user researcher with significant experience in the public sector. She writes a blog, cyberwomen.co.uk, which aims to raise the visibility of women and non-binary people in tech. Other than that, she likes weightlifting, ballet and plants.

ResultsBot

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ResultsBot is a robot that helps us collect election results from reliable sources. Thanks to ResultsBot, we can supplement the work of our volunteers in collecting election results shortly after they are published. It was built by Sym and is maintained by the team. It is a very good robot.

Board

Mevan Babakar

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Mevan was previously deputy CEO of Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact checking charity. She founded Full Fact’s automated fact checking team which built technology to help scale the work of fact checkers around the world. This work went on to win the Google AI impact challenge.

Before Full Fact, Mevan helped launch the UK’s first ever National Voter Registration Day which has since gone on to register millions of young people to vote.

Mevan was a child refugee for five years after fleeing Iraq in the early 90s. She now serves as trustee of the UK for UNHCR to help protect refugees around the world.

Alice Casey

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Alice works at Nesta, leading on a portfolio of work looking at how technology is transforming communities and civic life. This has included ShareLab Fund, exploring how collaborative platforms can help tackle social challenges, as well as co-founding a new open data infrastructure charity, 360Giving, that supports grantmaking bodies to publish and use their data. Alice has been involved in Nesta's Neighbourhood Challenge, the Big Green Challenge, and Innovation in Giving. Before Nesta, Alice worked for Involve on public involvement in policy making. Alice is a trustee of Local Trust which leads Big Local, a £220m place-based fund to support communities to lead change at a local level, and has acted as an advisor to a range of socially minded startups.

James Key

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James is a regulator, strategist and consultant working in telecommunications, infrastructure and innovation - currently as a leader in the Strategy team at Ofcom, the UK communications regulator. At Ofcom he leads across a range of cross-cutting and edge of remit policy questions, including developing a new regulatory regime for the BBC, early proposals for UK online safety protections and the launch of Ofcom's Open Data programme. He also has experience at boutique consultancies DG Cities, MTM London and DotEcon, developing strategies for clients including MHCLG, Google and Arts Council England.

Susan Simmonds

Susan is strategic communications, capacity building and governance consultant, working internationally to communicate complex law and policy issues within human rights, citizenship, international development and democratisation/elections. She has worked in Iraq with the Electoral Management Commission, UNAMI and is a member of the OSCE-ODIHR Election Experts database and experienced observer. She is Chair of Learning for Life UK and a Trustee of South London Botanical Institute.

Ashley Hodges

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Ashley was appointed Chief Executive of Young Citizens in 2021. She has previously held Chief Executive and Director roles within education and social mobility charities, including Speakers for Schools as the charity's founding CEO. Her career has focused on working on building strong cross-sector collaboration and solutions to increase support for young people from backgrounds traditionally excluded or systemically disadvantaged in education and careers. A former Obama Campaign staffer and experienced programme designer, Ashley is passionate about building stronger communities and empowering people for a fairer, more just society and ensuring strong democratic participation. Originally from Ohio, she moved to the UK in 2009 to complete an MSc at the London School of Economics. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors at Welbourne Primary School, in Tottenham north London, and a trustee at Elizabeth House Community Centre in Finsbury Park.

With thanks to

Democracy Club has been helped by many people along the way. We are grateful to them all, but some deserve a special mention:

Seb Bacon, Tim Green, Edmund von der Burg and Tom Steinberg for their initial work in 2010, and much help from Michael Collins and Eleesha Taylor-Barrett since.

Mark Longair for all his work on YourNextRepresentative.

Andy Lulham for support, feedback and code contributions and general top wombling.

Former board members Olly Benson, Rebecca Eligon, Sarah Hartley, Rebecca Kemp, Alison Walters, and Ian Watt.

Chris Shaw for "being the person who cared about WhereDoIVote the most". Without him the polling station finder wouldn't exist, and millions of people would still be looking for their polling station to this very day.

And last but not least, Joe Mitchell who took a leap in to Democracy Club, via a basement, after Sym spammed him once in 2014, and kept us afloat as co-coordinator for the best part of 5 years. He also wrote almost all the blog posts.