Things we can do
Do Something Dashboard
Enter your postcode and get back info on what elections are coming up that you can participate in. It can also act as your gateway into the tools below (and others).
PH: also it should say who your elected representatives are at all levels, results of previous elections, etc.
Coordinated effort to create/update wikipedia pages for all PPCs
PH: also dates of upcoming elections and results of previous ones. I see the site as having an informational function as well as a campaigning one and including previous election results is an important part of the informational function.
Google adword tracker
Monitor price of election related google adwords (and who's probably buying them? Not sure if possible)
18th birthday welcome pack
A physical, beautiful, pack containing information about voting, who you can vote for, why, how, etc.
PH: wouldn't this be expensive? Where is the money coming from?
Search news / press releases for politicians "calling on" people to do things "I call on David Cameron/Ed Milliband to do X". Auto publish to tumblr.
PH: isn't that the other way round, i.e. people calling on politicians to do things?
database of promises
Build a database of promises (crowd source, use the mysociety sayit thing?)
PH: also allow voters to say they support/reject certain pledges. So a voter could be able to record "I won't vote for a candidate who is in favour of $SomeProposition" and another voter might say "I won't vote for a candidate who is against $SomeProposition". These would all be tallied at constiuency level so MPs and candidates would know what the local electorate thinks at every level.
Near to the election, every voter registered with the system would gegt an email reminding them of what all the politicians have pledged to.
A more sophisticated idea would be for both voters and candidates to answer a detailed questionaire on a number of issues, with the voters also saying how important each issues is to them, and that being used to recommend to voters who to vote for.
(PH:) Legally binding promises?
One thing that makes people cynical about politicians is that they can, and do, break their promises.
Maybe the site could have a way of allowing politicians to declare that a promise of them is to be considered legally binding, and if they break it then any voter who is worse off as a consequience can sue them personally.
I don't know if this would actuially make their promise legally binding. If it did, all well and good.
If it didn't and they tried to wriggle out of it, I suspect the repercussions would sink their political career and possibly engender such revulsion in the system that change would become inevitable.
Get every candidate to upload their CV. Ideally do 6 months before the election so they aren't too busy. People can then compare candidates based on how suitable they are to do the job after the election (shock horror!).
database of NGO surveys/pledges
Similar to database of promises, but focusing on sourcing questionnaires, surveys, pledges that NGOs or other orgs have got candidates to sign. E.g. LGBT labour is surveying their MEP candidates here http://www.lgbtlabour.org.uk/mepselection2013 . A lot of charities did this at the last election, but I suspect most of the data is now gone/squirreled away!
Real time voting on election day (think #uksnow)
PH: also I think the site should do something dynamically on election night itself. In 2009 I dynamically predicted the full result as individual consituencies were declared, see http://cabalamat.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/first-result/.
Julian's killer question app + volunteers to turn up at hustings (needs explaining more)
PH: what is "Julian's killer question"?
Hustings mapper + kit/instructions for organising one
tfgg: Someone ran a site like this at the last election. I can't seem to find it now, though. It was pretty cool, and I'd have liked Democracy Club to collaborate with them earlier.
RT: such a site could link to outputs from each hustings eg. videos, transcripts, promises, reports. It could also encourage people to take an active role eg. by asking a question, filming, writing a report, or transcribing a Q&A.
RT: such a site could collect questions in advance of a hustings and help organisers pick appriopriate questions to be asked.
Reddit hustings day
One thread per constituency? Would need planning well in advance; verifying the accounts of candidates.
Stick all manifestos on github as markdown, and ask people to fork them
PH: a simpler thing to do would be to put up all the manifestos in the pdf format they're supplied in. Also do this for old manifestoes (I have some on my euroelection site).
Buy a nicely designed and printed report on your MP (use newspaper club api). Option to buy for your neighbours.
Tumblr for each constituency that lists every poster, leaflet, tweet, boring detail of the election there.
Polling day info
Understand what info people want on polling day and get it on google e.g. Polling stations location and opening times
Tactical vote swapper
Help you understand what's most likely to happen in your constituency and match you with someone to vote swap with.
(Update Mar 2016: Check out http://www.swapmyvote.uk/)
Not apathetic 2.0
Provide a forum for those who don't vote for a reason to express their opinions.
- Do the work to review the data from last time.
To collect the views of those who actively abstain, eg. SpoiltPapers
'None of the above' as a service
Everyone wants 'none of the above' on the voting ballot. Provide a web service that just offers this.
PH: also an online vote. This would be more of a piece of fun than anything else (nothing wrong with that since it will bring visitors to the site) but it would be interesting to see how people vote on the website on a per constiuency basis.
PPC* survey 2.0
Like Democracy Club did before.
QuestionYourCandidates was a simple interface to list local election debates and hustings. Made just too late to be useful for the last election, but could be easily revived.
RT: Encourage people to think about who they want on their ballot paper, and get involved in nominations
Make the process of nominating people to stand more accessible; eg. a website / service for people to nominate those they'd like to see on their ballot paper or to enable people to collect nominations in an open and public manner.
Make the forms and proceedures accessible and publicise the nomination process (has to be done well in advance of the formal opening of nominations to make it practical for people to stand).
Given parties often select candidates on the basis of a few tens, or low hundreds, of party members voting for them; anyone nominated by a similar number of individuals surely ought be given similar standing in the media coverage in the run up to the election?
RT: Publicise fact hundreds of divisions from the last Parliament are now well described on PublicWhip
This includes ~one sentence summaries of votes example - see line starting Edward Balls
There are also many up to date policies on PublicWhip now.
This could be used as the basis for building election quizes / compare your views to your candidates and things which inform people how their sitting MP has voted. Perhaps, for example, in the style of http://www.whatthehellhavethelibdemsdone.com/
PPC database / yournextpcc.com 2.0
A database (and API, etc) for recording PPCs against party and constituency. Political history would be great here too (like, if they are a party pro flown in from somewhere else to get a safe seat)
tfgg: Some components that I think would be useful here:
Keep an archive of tweets from various Twitter accounts (presumably pulled from a popit database) for further analysis. Also, keep an archive of profile pics and other accounts details. Possibly handle changes of Twitter account name, which often happens when a person re-uses an account from previous campaign in a new election.
Using Twitter accounts of all candidates, perform facial detection and recognition to count how many selfies each candidate posts. For bonus points, find pictures of candidates in the general twitter/news stream.
News mention monitoring
Monitor mentions of candidates on a large set of discovered RSS feeds. On YourNextPCC I did this manually and it was a faff, but also very interesting for learning about candidates. RSS feeds could be discovered automatically by auto-googling for news stories about candidates or being given sample news stories and picking up feeds in the html body. Collaborate with news snippet services?
This could also be used to automatically find possible new candidates, looking for regular uses of language to describe someone's candidacy.
Automatic candidate website archiving
For YourNextPCC I spidered all the candidates websites on the day of the election, but there was no attempt to do it before. Could do a regular spidering of all known candidate websites (again, from popit). Fairly cheap if you just dump it all on Amazon S3.
RT: This could just prompt/request existing archive sites to take copies of party and candidate sites during the election period using eg:
PPC -> Constituency lookup.
MaPit/PoPit install with PPC data included.
Election history service.
Vote breakdown by constituency, historically. Needs to deal logically with boundary change.
Take the EC's Register of Political Parties and add to it with contact info, website, wikipedia page, etc. User need, from Scottish cycling campaigner: "A list of local parties' websites and email addresses would be extremely useful if that's something that's on your radar at all".
Data store for voting advice applications
A collaborative data store for questions/answers to power voter advice applications. See proposal on my blog post but consider using CSV instead of Markdown.
Create an alternative choice
The OpenPolitics project is an experiment in crowdsourcing a political manifesto through GitHub. If the experiment works, we could put up some candidates.
* Prospective Parliamentary Candidate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prospective_parliamentary_candidate
Kickstarter for candidates
- Raise deposits through crowdsourcing
- Encourage candidate support raising through pledgebank
'So You Want To Stand'
- Info and steps clearly laying out how you stand for election (local and national).
UnParty Standing Declaration
- Tool to allow independants who want to stand but 'informally' be part of the UnParty.
- Would agree with or document their differences from the Open Politics Manifesto.
- Make it very easy to find information on 'UnParty' candidates
'As an MP my interests are ...'
- Public, voluntary register of interests for an MP. ** What topics interest them. what Groups, Societies they are members off, What links to anything they think they should declare, regardless of the 'law' of parliament.
- Encourage more openness
How Many People Have Registered to Vote? (Realtime % people registered)
Is there some way we can use gov.uk’s live data on voter registration to maintain a live percent-number of those eligible to register who actually have? And anything less than 100% should be a spur to action. The number should be projected on things. Sets a really clear target for councils/govt/civil-society to get behind.
Presumably this data normally exists (when EC gives turnout percentage, they must have a total registered number) - and ONS / statisticians should be able to work out the number eligible to register (18+ in UK + Commonwealth in UK + UK abroad - prisoners)..but can it be done live?
Election leaflets: return to sender.
Email/print leaflets received in previous elections and return them to the sucsessful candidate years later, asking for an update.
Test a Whatsapp group for ward level community chat. Elected representatives get to run the group. OR trusted non-partisan Democracy Clubber runs the group. Anyone can sign up. Could work for any level really.
A reddit for every council
A twitter bot that responds automatically to people tweeting things like "Heard I have an election tomorrow, no idea who's standing"; "Argh, I don't know where to vote". Twitter is good cos we can reactively respond to be people without them needing to know we exist. Facebook messenger bots are nice, but require proactiveness on behalf of voters. MVP twitterbot = Joe.
QR codes on poll cards and ballot papers
...that link to the corresponding ballot paper on WhoCanIVoteFor. This will mean voters can get the information at 'Point-of-Vote'.