localised access to voting information is flawed, which questions how democratic the UK voting process is
noggin, the business intelligence and data science company based on the south coast, has pulled together sources of data to create a user friendly website portal for voters to identify their local candidates simply by entering their postcode.
Out of curiosity and in browsing the web for local electoral information, noggin founder Sven Latham found that few councils feature basic election information on their websites, nor do they make it clear who is up for election, for what or where. Some aggregate websites require you to know which ward you fall into and what you’re enquiring about: local, mayoral or European elections.
It became clear to noggin that localised access to voting information is flawed, which questions how democratic the UK voting process is.
Sven comments: “I struggled to find anything helpful about my local ward, so I dug a bit deeper and I smelled a flaw in the national plan. I spent two days trawling for information about which councils are up for re-election, finding the specific election page for each council, then linking into actual documents which listed which wards are up for re-election, how many seats are up and who the candidates are in each ward. It was no mean feat! If I, as a "data scientist", cannot immediately find the list of candidates, what hope do average users have?”
With the current emphasis on encouraging younger people to vote, easy access to the right information surely is key. So noggin has developed an election portal, which simply and quickly tells you what your local election status is, based on your postcode.
Sven Latham continues: “Good, honest democracy assumes people have a fair and free vote. Government owes it to their constituents to make the electoral process as clear and open as possible – especially if they’re trying to reach a younger, more agile and online market. Sadly this is clearly not happening and is missing a trick.”
Some relatively simple procedural changes at council level, emulated across the country, would make good inroads into making election details more accessible to all. Until then, local election information can be found at www.noggin.bi/elections
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