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Democracy Club Finally Lets Brits Know Who Is Running for Parliament

BY Wendy M. Grossman | Wednesday, April 22 2015

May 7, 2015 is the date of the next British general election. On that day, everyone who cares to vote will go to their local polling station, pick up a small piece of paper, and mark on it, with a stubby pencil, their choice of candidate for Member of Parliament. The person with the most votes in each district wins. If one party wins a majority of the 650 Parliamentary seats, that party can form a government. If no party wins a majority, there will be a lot of dickering to form a coalition, as there was at the last election, in 2010, when the Liberal Democrats emerged as kingmaker and chose to ally with the Conservatives. By doing so, the LibDems offended so many of their own supporters that their number of Parliamentary seats is expected to drop precipitously this time round. According to a recent poll by the Guardian, the next government could well be a coalition of Labour and…the Scottish National Party. Read More

First POST: Zucked Up

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 20 2015

Mark Zuckerberg responds to criticism of "zero rating" Facebook access in India; turning TVs into computers; how Facebook is changing the way UK users see the upcoming General Election; BuzzFeed's split priorities; a new website for "right-of-center women"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Checking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, March 20 2015

US pressures Germany to not offer asylum to Snowden; study shows the extent to which political advertising overshadows political news coverage; new site gives a minute-by-minute breakdown of most popular US gov't websites; Upworthy co-founder apologizes for breaking the Internet; and much, much, more. Read More

Next-Generation Political Crowdfunding Platforms Reimagine Small Dollar Giving

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, March 13 2015

Pennies can add up. (Wikipedia)

At a Social Media Week event held at Civic Hall last month, Benjamin Yee, a former Democratic campaign fundraiser, asked a conference room full of people if they had ever donated money to a political campaign. Nearly everyone raised a hand. When asked if they felt it had ever made a difference: not a one. Even if someone does feel like they have been a part of something bigger—one of the many small donors who helped carry Barack Obama to victory, for example—that in no way means that the candidate you back knows why you contributed or what you hope they will do once in office. Money talks, but only if you have enough to get a phone call or an invite to a fundraising event. Everything else is just chatter.

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WeGov

Weekly Readings: The "Snooper's Charter"

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, July 7 2014

The UK wants to increase surveillance; Russia demands Google, Facebook and Twitter open local offices and hand over user data; Tunisians debate on social media whether to boycott the next election; and much more. Read More

WeGov

Weekly Readings: Masterclass

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, May 27 2014

Wikipedia and digital democracy; Pirate Party's dismal performance in the European parliamentary elections; a spate of censorship around the globe; and more. Read More

WeGov

How Much Influence Did Social Media Have On India's Election?

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, May 21 2014

Selfie + inked finger = "Fingie" (credit: @SirPareshRawal/Twitter)

India's 2014 election is being called a #TwitterElection because it is the largest democratic election in the world to date and so much of it took place online. While there seems to be a number of correlations between the online activities and victories of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which swept up 427 seats in India's Lok Sabha or lower parliament, and of Narendra Modi, India's new prime minister, just how much of their success can be attributed to their social media savviness? Read More

WeGov

Facebook Rolls Out Voter Megaphone Internationally

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 21 2014

(Facebook)

Facebook is rolling out a revamped version of its "I'm a Voter" tool internationally after a successful test run in the recent Indian elections, beginning with the European Parliament elections that run from Thursday to ... Read More

WeGov

Weekly Readings: "Mapocalypse"

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, May 19 2014

Mapping where you might die in an earthquake; Edward Snowden to testify before German parliament but in Russia or Germany?; Australia's social media superhero; India's social media-driven election; and much more. Read More

WeGov

The EU and I: How to Vote for an MEP If You Can't Keep Your Parties Straight

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, May 15 2014

Screenshot of euandi results

Next week Europeans will go to the polls to elect representatives to the European Parliament. Over the course of four days, the 28 members states combined will choose 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). To help them with their decision, voters can turn to the Voting Advice Application euandi. After responding to 28 policy statements, euandi lists the parties that align most closely with voters' values. VAAs have been shown to increase voter turn out on election day and to raise voter awareness about political issues, but statement selection can have an outsized effect on recommendations, leaving plenty of room for bias and inaccuracy.

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