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Imagine each piece of confetti were a PDF

This week: we’d love your help host an election data party; we’re working hard on polling location data; and Sym is in Huddersfield for #NotWestminster!

🥳 Help host an election data party! 🥳

Obviously there are lots of candidates announcing themselves for election already — maybe via leaflets, the local press, or on twitter. If you see any information on candidates, get adding it here!

However, there will be plenty candidates who quietly sneak under the radar with no digital presence. The only way we’ll learn about these candidates is from the official nomination papers (SoPNs), which will be published on 4 April (or a bit later in Northern Ireland) by all the local authorities with elections.

On 4 April, or the next day, or over the weekend of 6/7 April, we need your help to host some election data crowdsourcing parties. These are when volunteers get together to crack through as many of these nomination papers as we can.

Currently, we’ve got parties lined up for:

  • Thurs 4 April, Bath (hopefully the Guildhall)

  • Friday 5 April, Newspeak House, London

  • Stroud, more to follow

  • Cambridge, more to follow

We would love some more locations, particularly in the North or the Midlands!

If you’d be up for playing host, we can help you with everything you’ll need: a venue, some instructions, a snacks budget! Get in touch in the Slack or over email. We’d love to hear from you!

We’ve also put a (very) draft How To Run A SoPN Party document together — please add to it or let us know what is missing / what else you’d like to know.

We’ll of course be online too — the Slack will no doubt be a hive of activity of the evening of 4 April and for the following week while we crack through the thousands of PDFs. Put it in your calendar now!

📍 Dude, where’s my polling station? 📍

We began this week in the lovely offices of The Electoral Commission, explaining the ways of Democracy Club to some of the staff who’d not met us before. Most importantly, we chatted about how we plan to work closely with the commission to encourage councils to share polling location data for the online finder.

This work is now well underway — around 30 councils have already sent through data, Peter is manning a busy inbox and Chris is starting work on importing the data. Only another couple of hundred councils to go…

While chatting to councils about polling locations, we’ve been asked about ‘voter ID’ pilots. These will be taking place again in another (mostly different) group of councils from last year. The final list of councils with pilots — and their precise ID requirements — are not set in stone yet. Once they are, we’ll get in touch with those councils and ask for a link to details of their specific rules. We’ll then pop that link up on Where and Who, to help voters in those areas work out what’s going on.

🏛 We’re not in Westminster anymore 🏛

We’ve probably made that joke before and we’re rarely invited to Westminster anyway.

But! Sym is at #NotWestminster today and tomorrow. It’s the local democracy conference in Huddersfield.

This year, the focus is on citizen assemblies or citizen juries or deliberative democracy or mini-publics — not quite sure of the difference — but those things where you get a random group of citizens together to guide decision-making on something. The Alliance for Useful Evidence recently published a really handy introduction about them, alongside their thoughts on the role of evidence in decision-making.

Today, NotWestminster will investigate how to use citizens assemblies in local government, then the main event kicks off tomorrow with lightning talks, workshops and so on — much of it is livestreamed too! All the links are here and the hosts keep up an excellent running commentary over @notwestminster on twitter.

📅 What’s next? 📅

Lots of polling location data, lots of outreach to encourage people to get the candidates data in (and to think about how to use it), and we’ve some more funding chats! 🤞

Forward!