Local elections: Sheffield website tells voters where candidates stand on key issues
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Voters will go to the polls on Thursday to choose a councillor to represent them at Sheffield Council and a new mayor for the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.
The Who Is My Councillor website was the first of its kind in the UK when it launched last year, and it received more than 37,000 hits over three weeks.
It aims to bring key information together in one place so voters can easily find out who the candidates are standing in their area and what their stance is on big issues.
Eleanor Holmshaw, co-founder, said: “Powerlessness and disengagement are horrible things to feel, with research showing a correlation between lack of knowledge around politics and low turnout, particularly in younger people. Not having enough information is repeatedly cited as a reason young people give for not voting.
“The reality is political parties include people with hugely different positions and ideas. It’s important to know what individual candidates think, and not vote based on perception of a national party. Local and national politics are very different. Sheffield has the potential to be a city which makes exciting decisions and sets an example of how well democracy could work.”
Nigel Slack, co-founder, added: “Without this website the only way to find out who your candidates are and why they are standing is to wait for the ‘select’ information in their publicity or to hold out for an elusive knock on the door by canvassers.”
Every candidate in all 28 Sheffield wards have a profile page and 10 out of 14 local political parties have participated this year.
This time there is also a profile for each of the mayoral candidates. Of the five running, four completed the website’s survey outlining what they would aim to achieve if elected.
The team behind the site have ambitions to expand it to cover national and regional elections and it is hoped their idea will be adopted for other councils.
Sheffield voters can submit questions to be included in future surveys through the website at whoismycouncillor.co.uk.