It has always depressed me how little the British make of elections. We don’t have voter registration drive, “Kiss me; I’ve voted” badges” or much in the way of celebrating our democracy.
Perhaps it’s our reserved nature. But I think it has a direct effect on the declining number of people voting.
We’re going to have a General Election within a year – how do we encourage people to register and then vote?
I want to create a dual-aim mobile site.
- How do I register to vote?
- Enter home postcode (or use geolocation), get back phone number for registration.
- Where do I vote?
- Enter home postcode (or use geolocation), get back an address and a map of your local polling station.
(Why mobile? Well, partly because I’m a mobile guy and partly because more people have access to a phone than a PC. You can use the phone to call voter registration direct from the web page. You can also take the mobile map with you to help find the polling station.)
Getting the Data
The UK has a patchwork of different authorities responsible for various aspects of our lives. Because of this, there’s a surprising lack of centrally held information. I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Electoral Commission. They simply don’t track where all the UK’s polling stations are.
So, to get a list of polling stations I’d need to contact every returning officer in the UK. With nearly 700 MPs, that could be tricky – but not impossible.
Where to vote.
Calculating the distance between two postcodes is not simple, but can be done. The problem is, your nearest station may not be where you are registered to vote. Can you vote at a different station? Does a user get shown a list of local polling stations? If not, can returning officers supply data (in a suitable format) showing which postcodes vote at which stations?
I am not politically neutral – but the site must be. What good, neutral content can attract repeat visitors? What will encourage people to text the address to their friends?
I was impressed with the work Hope Not Hate did – can that be built on?
The deadline for registering to vote is always 11 days before an election. Can the site be built sufficiently before the election? How to encourage voters to come back on polling day?
I want a UK version of this to send to my friends
So, that’s the idea and the problems – any thoughts?