08 Mar 2016

Democracy Club: Making democracy better for everyone

By Guest

With Demo Day just a few short weeks away, we are profiling the nine teams who have been going through the BGV accelerator over the past couple of months. In this post Joe and Sym tell us about Democracy Club – which creates digital tools to make the democratic process better for everyone.

What’s the problem you are trying to solve?

Joe: In the UK we are living in a society that has been significantly transformed by digital technology, and yet our experience of the democratic process has not caught up. This can lead to quite serious disengagement, and a lack of trust in the electoral process.

Sym: A really simple example is how at the moment you can’t find out if you are registered to vote without going through a fairly difficult process that involves ringing up the council. Many people turn up to vote not realising they haven’t registered. If you were designing the system today you probably wouldn’t work it like that.

What’s your solution?

Sym: Democracy Club aims to make the process of democracy better for everyone through the creation of a range of digital tools. Some examples of what we mean by that are creating and maintaining a list of candidates for elections, a database of election leaflets and campaigning to get the location of polling stations published online.

What’s your experience with that problem?

Joe: I come from a background of marketing and politics, having worked with organisations like Purpose and the UN and I felt frustrated at the lack of some of these basic tools that I believe could strengthen engagement in the electoral process, increase transparency ensure a more even distribution of power across society.

Sym: I’m a software developer who’s been in the open data and civic tech world for about ten years, focused on EU budget monitoring, transparency, and some UK government stuff for councils. More recently I’ve been doing service design and software development for the UK government.

How will this impact the lives of millions of people?

Sym: Over a million people used our tool to find their candidate during the 2015 general election alone. We feel that our tools have the potential to increase transparency and participation in the democratic process in various contexts around the world.

How can people get involved?

Joe: The easiest way would be to join us! Head to https://democracyclub.org.uk/ and pop your details in at the footer of the page.

Website: Democracy Club
Twitter: @democlub
Facebook: Democracy Club