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10.12.09

The Democracy Club

Here's some quick publicity for the Democracy Club

We are building a network of election volunteers to help mySociety and TheStraightChoice in the run up to the next general election, and hopefully beyond. We want your help to achieve this.


In elections these days, all major candidates have a huge team of volunteers behind them, helping them produce and distribute leaflets, get publicity in the local news media, raising their profile and painting a generally rosy picture of them.


But the public gets no such help. They are given election leaflets, party election broadcasts, newspaper interviews with candidates, but they are not given solid, factual information, or simple unbiased analysis of the truth value of these publicity campaigns, especially not at a local level.


We feel that the public needs its own team of volunteers to help them. We want you to be one of those volunteers: gather information on candidates, their leaflets, and local news coverage of them; or publicise vote analyses in local papers around the country; or do other tasks we haven't even thought of yet.


With your help, we can give the public the same support that the candidates already get.


What's the background to this site?


Our friends at mySociety, which runs some of the best-known democracy and transparency websites in the UK, often get approached by people who would like to volunteer to help with websites like TheyWorkForYou.com and FixMyStreet.com. This site was conceived as a way for someone to contribute to transparency and accountability projects like these without having to learn how to be a computer programmer.


What is the site actually for?


We're asking people to sign up to be constituency volunteers. Initially they will be asked to carry out volunteer tasks for both our friends at mySociety, and our friends who run the wonderful election leaflet website TheStraightChoice.org. What this means is putting yourself forward to help with tasks such as:


1) Helping to establish who is standing for election at the next general election in your constituency, so that we can tell the public about them, share that information with other websites, and gather information on their political views


2) Which local campaigns and issues need putting to candidates in order to have a clear record of candidates views on the issues that matter to local people


3) What election materials are being sent around, containing what promises and what accusations


We promise we won't hammer you with requests — you'll never get more than two emails a week — in fact the sum total of volunteering between now and the general election could easily be less than a dozen hours. But it's all super important, because only real people like you know what issues are critical in every corner of the country. Together we can do a better job than any of the newspapers, and without the political spin too.

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