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I, for one, welcome our new SlackBot overlords

As a small team, we’re always looking for ways we can use automation to do more for less. This week we’re looking at some of the bots that keep the wheels turning behind the scenes at Democracy Club.

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The One With Lists of Lists of Lists

In this week’s blog, we’re talking about a new project for the Open Data Institute, Donald Rumsfeld and how to save local democracy. Oh, and we’re nearly halfway through our democratic year!

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VC, ER and SOPNs

We need your help for November’s by-elections, we met a VC, and we nearly meet the Queen. Sort of.

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New York 🛬 London 🚂 Cardiff

We’re hiring in London, we’re reflecting further on our NY tour, we’re in Cardiff for, er, jelly, and we’ve entered Sprint #7!

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Democracy Needs You! (And It Pays)

We’re looking for a contractor to come help out with the London elections, from February through May 2018. A good chance to get into civic tech! Apply now or pass it on!

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Rolling by-elections, Welsh electoral reform and how we change the world

In this week’s blog we’re excited about by-elections and asking for your help to get more information on by-election candidates. We’re looking again at how we change the world; we’re in Cardiff for a consultation on electoral reform in Wales; and we’re after councillors’ email addresses.

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What did users make of Where Do I Vote?

In this week’s blog, it’s a Where Do I Vote? user feedback special, with some highlights from the full report we published last week. We’re also asking for recommendations for folks we should meet in New York next month, and thinking — as always — about stickers.

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The One Where We Meet A Minister

This week: we meet a Minister! We chat to potential board members! We receive nice mentions from kind people! Obama makes an appearance. Happy international day of democracy, everyone!

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A Time Before Democracy Club

We’re onto Sprint #4, we’re writing to the House of Lords, and we’re learning about organisations doing this ‘make democracy better’ thing for a bit longer than us…

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Sprint 3 and 28 by-elections

We’re coming to the end of Sprint #3 where we’ve fixed bugs, discovered 28 elections and started on a system to get candidates for them all.

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AddressBase and openness

The closed address database in the UK forces us to into a trade off between openness and accuracy.

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The Second Sprint

A few days into Sprint #2, we’ve published the polling location lookup data per local authority, our Trello boards are working well, we’re talking leaflets and boards. Jump in!

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Always in beta: evolving our approach

This week we reflect on how we’ve changed our approach to collecting data for Where Do I Vote over the past couple of years, and what we’ve learned from it.

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Is it summer yet?

We review our reviews, we’re trying to get data/feedback from partners, and we’ve a new way of working: please come and join in!

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The Road to May 2018

Having reviewed the last year and workshopped ‘what’s next’, we’ve now drafted our goals for the year to May 2018. We’d love your feedback!

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Review of the Year!

We launched our May ‘16 — June ‘17 annual report at a party in London.

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Under the hood of Where Do I Vote

Our blog posts tend to focus on talking about objectives and outcomes rather than implementation details, but in order to handle the challenges of a general election our websites make use of some interesting performance optimisations. For the more technically-minded, Democracy Club developer Chris Shaw provides a glimpse under the hood of Where Do I Vote.

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A Full House (...Nearly)

A quick recap of the last seven weeks; some figures on people we reached; and an invitation to take part in what happens next!

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Seven weeks

The polling stations have closed. The exit poll is published. I expect you’re glued to the TV.

But before the results come in, let’s take a moment to look back over what we’ve achieved in just seven weeks.

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Who are Britain's new MPs?

The election hasn’t happened yet, but we already know who’s going to be elected - at least in safe seats. Here’s our guide to the new MPs in Britain’s safest seats.

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Five-And-A-Half Days To Go

Facebook links to us from the newsfeed; we’ve a new polling stations widget; and, help us make happy constituencies. It’s Fridayblog!

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Nineteen Days To Go!

We’ve got all the candidates — now the race is on to provide rich information on them, and get it, and where to vote info, to millions of people before E-Day.

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The Long Short Week

General election! Here’s what’s happening at Democracy Club. Get involved!

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It's #GE2017

There’s going to be a general election on 8 June. Help us to help voters!

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Now we are three

Brought to you from sunny (not true) Bristol, we welcome our first employee, bring back WhereDoIVote.co.uk, and shout about crowdsourcing hustings data.

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We’re On The Highway To May

With just under two months to go before the local elections, we’re reviewing the progress made on our 2017 election goals. We’d also like you to test our new Quests feature. And we’re in Warwickshire for polling location data.

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The day after #AE17 and a round-up from the week

It’s the day-after-the-election-before in Northern Ireland, we’ve an update on election boundaries, you might have noticed the blog’s looking a little fancier, and we’re eagerly awaiting the City of London election candidates.

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Ordnance Survey are getting in the way of open election data

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) created data about elections months ago and Ordnance Survey are getting in the way by blocking its publication until after the elections in May. This means we can’t tell millions of people what elections they have this May.

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The One With Snow In It

Last week saw Democracy Club on the road — from the English Channel to the Peak District. This blog is about our adventures. And we catch you up on crowdsourcing, polling stations and ask you what you want from a new(ish) DC website.

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We’re go for May 2017! And, When Is A Candidate Not A Candidate?

The local elections in May are looming large — our crowdsourcing tool is live now. We’re also committing to track results (at least for FPTP elections) in May. We’ve got questions about how we should verify candidates, and our first Democracy Club: Labs project. All this — and some treats — all in your Friday democrablog.

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The Making Of Every Election

We go into detail about how we’re creating the UK’s first open election database — and there’s an invite to join us for a chat about results data.

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'Twas The Blog Before Christmas

In which we review our first full year in operation. We look back at some of the goals for the elections of 2016 — those we met, and those we missed. And how many calories were consumed doing so.

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Live from Paris

A special edition of the blog coming from L’Elysee en Paris for the Open Government Summit. And there’s some very welcome news on funding.

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The Grand Tour

Democracy Club joins mySociety’s annual retreat on Exmoor, then schleps from Taunton to Manchester to talk post-fact politics, then heads to London for catch-ups with the Electoral Commission and Matt Warman MP.

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Keep on keeping on

An update on where-to-vote data, we’re interviewed by Kirklees Democracy Commission and we publish the feedback on WhoCanIVoteFor, which is a must-read.

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Every Election

We’re building an open database of every election in the UK. This blog explains why and how we’re doing it.

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Elections and young people. What can we do differently?

The last of three posts covering our research into young people and elections. In particular, we make a few recommendations as to a target group, tone of voice, and highlight the key problems that have to be overcome. And we invite everyone to get involved…

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The Road to May 2017

In this fortnight’s post: eyes on the prize for May 2017, working out how to learn about every election in the UK and we plug some events that you won’t want to miss.

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Where Do 131,474 people vote?

The polls have closed, there isn’t an exit poll, the live coverage is struggling to know what do say for the next few hours.

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Looking back, looking ahead

We point at our review of the elections earlier this month, and we look ahead to the giant looming referendum. We’re excited to announce we’re doing a quick sprint on voter registration. And we’re trying to expand coverage of our polling station finder. Help us out!

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What's next?

The day after the day and night before. Looking back at elections, voters and digital services. And looking ahead, to what we want to do next.

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It's April already. Nobody panic. Don't Panic.

In which we launch WhoCanIVoteFor.co.uk and seek your keen-eyed feedback upon such website, resurrect ElectionLeaflets, announce a new Open Election Results project, and beg for moar data on candidates. Clickedy-click. (Tappedy-tap. Whatever. Devices.)

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TGIGF

Thank Geoff It’s Good Friday. A very short post the day after Demo Day, at which fun was had, and Tim built a new homepage. Which is nice.

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Week 10: 70 Days In...

Ten weeks in, there are signs in the blog post that Joe is losing grip on reality. But also - we launch a polling station finder in Wales, we announce that CandidateFinder (TM) is coming soon, and we ask if anyone knows the queen.

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To Wales! For there is data there.

In which there are leeks, Shakespeare and good things from Wales. Also announcing the beta launch of the candidate crowdsourcer - get involved!

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A reply to Ordnance Survey

Last week we wrote about how hard working out where UK elections are because of the underlying data that is provided, in part, by Ordnance Survey.

They were kind enough to leave a comment explaining more at the bottom of that post.

Here is our reply to them

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Poor mapping data is harming the UK's democracy

We want to do something simple. We want to let everyone in the UK know what elections they are able to vote in on the 5th of May.

That’s it. Do I, an eligible voter in a country that is proud of its old democracy, have an election in the next 10 weeks, or not?

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What's in a club?

We’re six weeks in. We’re halfway through being incubated. Cracks in the egg are starting to appear, something is hatching.

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Week 5: Feeling the (white) heat

Week five in BGV, in which Harold Wilson makes an appearance. As does the semblance of a more strategic approach to what we do. And we’re in Huddersfield.

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The One Where Democracy Club Meets A Venture Capitalist

Week 4 update from the bowels of Somerset House. The Thames is lapping at the door. The mice are building boats. We’ve built a new thing for you to test, gained some insights into our potential business models and learned about why it’s incredibly unlikely that we’re ever going to raise VC.

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Timetable of legal deadlines for May 2016 elections

We scour PDFs and take the dates out and put them in a Google Calendar so you don’t have to. Notice of election, statement of persons nominated, notice of polls etc. For all the UK elections in May 2016.

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Week Three in the Big Somerset House

It’s week three in the Big Somerset House. And the housemates are determined to write a blogpost that doesn’t smash through the 600-words-that-people-might-actually-read-limit.

A new prototype to look at, two business models to consider, EURef thoughts, mice, and a new team introduced.

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How (not) to make money

Week two, and the democracy thunder keeps rolling. In this week’s episode: how not to make money, how to attend a lot of meetings, and we introduce Bright Little Labs.

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Day 5 in the incubator...

In which we review the first week at Bethnal Green Ventures, discuss the quality of bacon sandwich available in Somerset House, and reminisce about the bowler-hatted civil servants that once ran the place.

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Why doesn’t Google know where I should vote?

It’s election day. It’s late, and you’re tired. Because in the UK, elections, unlike royal weddings, don’t warrant a day off work, so you’ve only just got home. Somewhere is a small piece of card that was delivered to your house several weeks ago that had the address of your polling station, and a little map of where it is. But now you can’t find it, you’re searching under the sofa and in that drawer in the kitchen, but it’s gone.

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How can you take 3 minutes this sunny weekend to make democracy better?

It’s a glorious weekend. You’re dusting down the barbecue, you’re poking around in the garden. You probably weren’t thinking about the election. But plenty of people are. This weekend hundreds of political party activists will take to the streets to post election leaflets to thousands of homes. In order to watch what the parties are saying, Democracy Club has helped build an election leaflets archive - and we’d love 4 minutes of your time out of the sun to help pack it with data!

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Find your polling station

We’ve tried to make it easy to find out who your local candidates are. We’ve tried to make it easy to see their professional and educational experience. And we’ve tried to highlight opportunities to meet them in person.

But of course, there’s one more crucial step - assuming you’ve already registered. And that’s actually knowing where to go vote.

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Developers, we need your help.

We have just over 50 days to go until the election, and we have a chance to make a real difference to the way people interact with it, but we can’t do it alone.

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Wordpress plugin for MeetYourNextMP.com

If you run a blog using the WordPress platform, perhaps one about your town or region, it is straight forward to add a list of election events in your local area. This helps to inform your visitors and gives them opportunities to meet their possible next MP!

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Emailing 1,800 people

To help make YourNextMP.com the best list of candidates there is, we emailed 1,800 candidates from 2010, asking them if they were standing again.

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A fair fight?

Nesta have an interesting blog post up about big data at the next election. It’s painful reading: it makes it sound like the election campaign will be something done by politicians to the rest of us. (Again).

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The odd one out

In the past two or three years — that is, at any time since the Arab Spring, since the tsunami hit Fukushima, or since William and Kate got married — have you discussed politics?

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Restarting

Although I wan’t involved in organizing Democracy Club before the 2010 election, I did get involved as a volunteer. I uploaded election leaflets that were shoved through my door (as well as getting everyone I knew to give me their leaflets to upload), called up my MP Richard Bacon, asking him why he hadn’t filled out the candidate survey and I even made a little project that stored the major party manifestoes and made them searchable.

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We need to talk

We have a lot of plans and ideas for how to make democracy and elections better that we’ll be blogging and emailing about over the coming months.

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