England & Wales Democracy, devolution and governance

We need you to help open elections


Photo Credit: left-hand via Compfight cc

We are very pleased to announce that the LGiU and Democracy Club project Out for the Count has received support from the Open Data Institute.  Out for the Count is going to deliver the first open data set of local elections return data as soon as possible after 5 May elections returns.

But we can’t do it without you. 

We need you to help us open elections and crowdsource the elections returns through the count and returns. And there are several ways that we can work together to make this happen.

If you’re already going to be at the count:

We need you to help us cover the local elections through social media and telling us headline results.  Are you a candidate, a local activist, a council comms person, a returning officer? Sign up here to help us tell the story of the 2016 local elections.

If you’re not going to be at the count:

We need you to help us crowdsource the elections results down to individual candidate level. Our elections results collector will make it easy to do.  You can do this from your bedroom or your kitchen table and you’ll be a vital link in opening up democratic information. We’ll need some people to stay up with us all night after the polls close, get up early in the morning to cover any gaps and some people to monitor returns for councils that count on Friday morning.

We think it will take under an hour to cover one council’s elections returns. Do you have an hour sometime on the 6th of May to help make local democracy more open? Sign up here.

If you’re responsible for publishing elections data:

Get in touch. Some councils have already been in touch about using our tool to publish your election returns as open data straight away.  You can publish information directly through our collector and provide the link on your site, so your citizens can find it and see it easily. Drop an email to [email protected] to find out more and get you set up.

Why is this so important?

Over the years of LGiU fast-and-first local elections coverage, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly in terms of the presentation of elections results. If we struggle to find out who has won and which party is in control, then how hard is it for the citizen? It’s vital that local people can find out which people and parties represent them and make the decisions about their community. We want local people to be as excited about local politics as we are – or nearly anyway.

This project is a huge step forward in making elections returns open data. Not only will the data be open, so will the process. And the tool we’re building, an elections returns collector is completely open source, completely reusable and can be used to support democracy and open elections anywhere in the world. By participating in this project, not only will you be strengthening democracy in the UK, but also around the world.

And for people who give us a big hand, there might even be a sticker in it for you.

Square-sticker4 (1)

What’s at stake?

Where are the elections? Who has the most to lose? What do these local elections mean in a time of devolution and the EU referendum? See our elections analysis.

Find out more:

See our Out for the Count project page to find out more about how we got here and what we’re doing.  See how the Open Data Institute is supporting Out for the Count and our project Q&A.