What we need from you as a Count Correspondent

This page covers how you can help us tell the story of the 2017 local elections and build the first ever open data results tracker.

We’ve got two key missions:

  • to tell the story of the local elections
  • to build an open data set of votes and results for all candidates and all races in the local government elections

There are two different ways you can help us depending on whether you’re physically at the count (or a connected comms centre) or if you’re elsewhere and not officially connected to the count.

There is lots of information in our Elections Guide

Mission 1 – For those at the Count

(or monitoring it closely from an official channel)

Help us tell the story of the local election and mobilise the volunteers who will crowdsource the data.

Basically we need you to let us know:

  • when the count is happening
  • when declaration is imminent
  • when results are out
  • where the results are

There are bronze, silver and gold levels of Count Correspondents

Bronze level: when and where results are

Tweet when the count starts – this gives us a rough idea of when you’re likely to return so we can capture any hold or change of control and mobilise our democracy heroes who will crowdsource the local elections data.   

Tweet to us directly on @LGiU and/or tweet that the count has started using the hashtags #LE2017 or  #OutfortheCount

Tweet out when the return is imminent!

Tweet out the results and be sure to link to the wherever  the results have been uploaded. If you only have a count of seats and not the number of votes – tweet that and what that means for control.

Silver level: the images and stories of the elections

All of the above – but with pictures, video, etc.  We not only want to give top line results – we want to be able to share the story of the local elections.  Visual results. Images. Videos. We know how important these elections are and we want to capture the range of activities and effort that go into supporting our democratic system.

Gold level: opening up the data

All of the above! Plus sharing the results in our digital tracker or directing people to help input the results.  The results will be crowdsourced from your official source and shared with the whole electorate as open data. We’ve already crowdsourced the entire list of all candidates in all elections across the UK at http://whocanIvotefor.co.uk over 12,000 of them.  So with your help we feel we can get all the results, too. This is definitely a UK first and a major step forward in transparency of democratic information. We think it may well be a global first – at least at this kind of scale. You can help us by directly inputting data at whole council or ward level at https://candidates.democracyclub.org.uk/uk_results/

Mission Two: For those not at the count or not monitoring official channels

If you’re not at the count, you’re not out. You have the most critical mission of all. You’re going to help us build the first ever complete UK open data set of local elections returns. You are not only ensuring open and transparent elections in the UK, you’re helping to ensure open and transparent elections around the world. The tool and approach we’re trialling here can be used around the world and with the support and amplifying influence of the Open Data Institute, the lessons we learn will be used to support fairer, freer elections across the globe. You’re a Democracy Hero.

How it will work:

Around midnight as May 4th turns to 5th, the first returns will start coming in, the LGiU will be monitoring those returns. You can, too. Once we know a council has published results we’ll enter or verify any hold or change in control and represent it on a map.  This will let you know that you can enter the number of votes against the candidates at that council from the council’s own sources at https://candidates.democracyclub.org.uk/uk_results/

It shouldn’t take too long to go through results and input them into the system. We figure around half an hour or less for most councils. And there are only 35 English councils with elections. The more people who help the sooner we get this cracked and the greater the value of this data to journalists and citizens.