How easy is it for voters in Wales to find out where to vote?

Gorsaf bleidleisio ward Canol Aberystwyth by Dogfael used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Where do I vote?

A small social enterprise called Democracy Club develops tools to make it easier for UK citizens to exercise their vote effectively. One of these tools is “Where do I vote?” Give it your postcode and it tells you which polling station you should go to. Where do I vote? is apparently one of the most Googled terms on UK election days. They have an elegant tool but they need the information on which addresses vote at which polling station. In Wales this information is held by local councils. Democracy Club asked all Welsh local councils to provide this data in time for the General Election in 2017.

 How did Welsh local authorities do?

 
Fourteen councils provided data (green in the map), eight councils did not (red in the map). The same data is in a table below. There were some problems with the Cardiff City Council data and a few specific areas of other councils.
 
Overall the 92,000 searches of WhereDoIVote? made for Welsh postcodes, 51,000 resulted in people being told their polling station. Which is nice for 51,000 voters but disappointing for the 41,000 people who didn’t get a result.
 

Litmus test

This is a good litmus test for how local authorities approach open data because:

  • Democracy Club is after a specific dataset, they understand the data and can help with any questions council staff might have (they make it easy for the councils)
  • if the council provides the data it will directly benefit their citizens
  • the council definitely holds the data (it needs it to send out the polling cards that so many people apparently mislay by polling day)

So if councils can’t give Democracy Club this data, it is a signal that they have quite a long way to go in understanding the power of opening datasets. We’re interested in developing a scorecard for Welsh local authorities in terms of open data. Should we include providing this data to Democracy Club in that scorecard do you think?

The data as a table

Council name All searches Found polling station Red or green in map
Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council 1719 1563 Green
Bridgend County Borough Council 3698 0 Red
Caerphilly County Borough Council 4716 0 Red
Carmarthenshire County Council 4074 0 Red
Ceredigion County Council 1935 1848 Green
City of Cardiff Council 18122 11714 Green
Conwy County Borough Council 2732 2730 Green
Denbighshire County Borough Council 2447 2392 Green
Flintshire County Council 4503 0 Red
Gwynedd Council 2336 2312 Green
Isle of Anglesey County Council 1679 0 Red
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council 1485 1477 Green
Monmouthshire County Council 2101 2101 Green
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council 4771 4740 Green
Newport City Council 6306 0 Red
Pembrokeshire County Council 1887 1887 Green
Powys County Council 1789 0 Red
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council 7773 0 Red
Swansea County Council 8851 8718 Green
Torfaen County Borough Council 2894 2818 Green
Vale of Glamorgan Council 3351 3350 Green
Wrexham County Borough Council 3259 3237 Green