Happy UK Parliament Week! (This, admittedly, is a photo of the Welsh Parliament. Have you been? I went once and had an amazing chocolate and caramel cake in the café. Thoroughly recommended.)
We’ve finally created the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru elections on our candidates site. That this took a little longer than planned was due to the recent renaming of the Assembly. Sym, Will and myself engaged in a heated debate over whether our relevant ID should be wp. (to match the Scottish Parliament’s sp.), or simply senedd. In the interests of inter-Union harmony we won’t say who advocated which, but suffice to say that the latter prevailed: time to start crowdsourcing for senedd.2021-05-06!
All this discussion of devolved matters got us thinking. Between them, Wales and Scotland are electing 189 parliamentarians next year. This is in addition to an extremely large and complex set of local elections in England (including all those people who have only recently discovered that they live in a Combined Authority). Perhaps we could do with a bit of assistance?
Consequently, we’re excited to say that we are looking to employ someone to help with our work in May, with a special focus on the Scottish Parliament and Senedd Cymru. Both nations present unique opportunities - and unique challenges - for what we do, and we want to be able to make the most of the chance to bring quality, non-partisan voter information to as many people as possible. We’re especially keen to tap into the excitement around votes at 16, already a feature in Scotland and now coming to Wales in May, opening up the possibility of reaching out to schools and colleges in both nations. A dedicated Elections Assistant will allow us to do this.
More practically, our polling station finder has long struggled to achieve good coverage of Scotland and Wales, for various reasons. As our GE2019 report showed, we only managed 50% coverage of the Welsh population during that election. We must do better!
Head over to Workable page to check out the job ad, and do please share it with anyone who might be interested!
Information, communication, consultation…
In the face of the sheer complexity of next May, we’re thinking hard about the information we present on our websites, especially Who Can I Vote For. For example, we’ve been playing around with the ‘explainers’ which we can add to individual ballots, but have generally neglected in the past. As a test we’ve added a bit of text to the London Mayoral page. Is this useful? How much text is too much? We’ll be adding to/developing this information over the next few weeks, so do let us know what you think.
Finally, we’re settling down to submit evidence to a couple of inquiries: on The Electoral Commission; the Constitution; and the UK’s National Data Strategy. If you’re the sort of person who cares as much as we do about these things, take a look at them yourself!
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a particularly notable international election taking place today. Shoutout to our friends at Democracy Works, who have a busy day ahead of them.
One other really neat voter information tool available to Americans is Ballotpedia’s sample ballot tool. We’re very impressed with this and may end up stealing some of its layout/features for WhoCanIVoteFor…