Democracy Club Menu

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

by

..

It’s nearly time. Fewer than 30 days to go to the elections. Don’t Panic.

The good news is that we’re starting to see a lot more interest in the data — and we’ve had a lot more responses from councils getting on the case for polling stations.

And…Iain from Glitch Digital made us this lovely infographic above! Nice work pal. It’s based on our aggregation of About My Vote’s information on eligibility. Do European and Commonwealth citizens know they can vote in all the elections this May? Qui sait? We’ve tweeted the graphic - please share it!

You might have spotted that the graphic signposts to our new website… tada…WhoCanIVoteFor.co.uk.

When tweeted earlier this week, it mainly triggered immediate pedantry, with tweeps helpfully suggesting that sites such as forwhomshallIvote.com were still available. Funny that. (We still love you.) We named the site based on what people google for. The people have spoken, erm, typed. That’s what they want to ask. (But we welcome other thoughts on smart identity/branding).

Can you break it? Can you test it on family and friends? Does it do what you thought it would do? Are you panicking?

Of course, it’ll provide better information if we have more data. Speaking of which…

Candidates

Scottish candidates are all now official. That is, the councils have published Statements of Persons Nominated: the list of people who have secured the nominations to be on the ballot paper, and haven’t been disqualified for other reasons.

By now then, we should really have every Scottish candidate. But we don’t. Why couldn’t we galvanise a volunteer base in Scotland to smash in data? Well…we were late getting the crowdsourcer going. We were also warned back in 2015 that ‘nobody will care about candidates because the SNP will win everything’. And perhaps we’ve also not got the personal links into Scotland that would help us out here.

Nevermind, there’s still plenty of time! The vast majority of voters will only start searching for ‘who are my local candidates’ in the few days before the election. So let’s get those candidates in!

To help right now, go pick a Scottish election from the full list. See if you can find the council managing the election, and somewhere they’ll have published the SOPN on their website. Grab that data!

Wales, England locals, PCCs all become official at 5pm today… so get that RSI-prevention kit ready.

Election Leaflets

We had someone from the BBC get in touch this week, asking if our archive stretched back to the 1975 EU Referendum. Sorry Auntie, not sure online crowdsourcing was such a big deal back then.

Instead, check out this excellent blogpost from Daniel Payne, a curator at LSE Library, of unusual referendum leaflets. Anyone for the Don’t Know campaign?

All this to say, electionleaflets.org works again. Bring out your leaflets! Go through the leaflets and see if there are candidates we’ve not got yet!

Winning here

Just a reminder that no, there’s no government provision of election results. We, the electorate, just cross our fingers and hope the BBC’s paying attention.

But perhaps no longer! Perhaps we could close the feedback loop of elections and actually let people know what happened in that election they just voted in.

This week, Democracy Club and Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) won a £7k grant from the Open Data Institute to build an open election results tracker. The idea is that we crowdsource the results through having friendly volunteers at each count pop the data into our central database, as it’s announced by the Returning Officer.

This data can power email alerts, visualisations, automatic tweets - all sorts of things that actually let people know who won. (As well as building a proper open database of vote share, turnout, spoilt ballots: the geeky stuff that normally takes weeks to filter through). Thanks to LGiU for mobilising their army of Count Correspondents! You can sign up to join them here.

What’s next?

We’ll keep adding candidates data. We’re working on some nice mission-based calls-to-action, such as ‘Can you find this candidate’s twitter profile?’ We’ll be reacting to feedback on WhoCanIVoteFor, and we’ll be plugging in some new data on polling stations coming in from Conwy, Pembrokeshire and Ynys Mon (Anglesey). Great stuff!

Forward.