Before you vote, you need to know who the candidates are, and what they stand for.
No-brainer, huh? But in elections all around the world, comprehensive candidate data just isn’t widely available.
Enter YourNextRepresentative, a simple platform that allows you to collect reliable candidate data from the general public — and then display it for everyone to consult.
Information is crowdsourced: members of the public (or your own select groups of users) are invited to provide verifiable information about candidates, using sources like news stories or political parties’ websites.
YourNextRepresentative was first used in the UK for the 2015 General Election, where it successfully gathered reliable data on 100% of the candidates, in advance of the official, paid sources.
This data was then made available for free under an Open Source licence. The result? It was used by all sorts of organisations, from the big — newspapers and search engines — right down to smaller NGOs and campaign groups.
Their developers had the time and the data they needed to build web tools for the election.
And the net result was that voters across the country became more informed: the site accessed directly by over a million people who simply wanted to see who was standing for election in their area.
YourNextRepresentative is now available for use in advance of any election, at any level, in any country.
YourNextMP was the original version of this software. Here’s how it went down.
Tus Representantes Locales
In Costa Rica, TusRepresentantesLocales aimed to increase voter turnout in the 2016 canton-level elections, and ensure that voters were properly informed.
Yo Quiero Saber
Yo Quiero Saber featured a YourNextRepresentative crowdsourcing tool in Argentina, in advance of their 2015 elections.
Data-powered search results
Ahead of the UK General Election of 2015, Google used YourNextMP’s data to power a new feature for any users searching for candidate information.
Details of candidates were shown in info-boxes right on the search results page.
A UK project, running in the months prior to the General Election, to collect and permanently archive promotional leaflets delivered by candidates, so that their promises could be checked after election. Candidate names were sourced from from YourNextMP.
YourNextRepresentative… for you
YourNextRepresentative is free for anyone to use. If you have elections coming up, you could help provide a candidate database for your country, too.
If you’ve got funding in place, we may be able to help.
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Image: Brian Evans (CC)