Help needed: write to your TD!

This is an urgent and serious call for help – especially those of you with techie experience – to help build a faxyourmp style website for the Republic. John Handelaar has signed up ten volunteers and needs just five more to reach his pledgebank target by tomorrow! The UK version has done some marvellous work in getting MPs, MSPs and AMs to respond to their constituents.

  • I’ll help out.. although I’m based in the north.

  • Mick Fealty

    I doubt that matters Jimmy. It’s willing hands he needs.

  • Betty Boo

    I had a look at it and I would sign but I have no idea how it works and what happens when I sign.

  • missfitz

    It looks like it will involve a huge amount of work, as far as I can tell Betty. I’m guessing that he is going to take each electoral ward in each county and set that up against the name of a TD, so that when you register your address it will automatically go to the correct one.

    While its no doubt laudable, and one of the those things that just HAS to be done, I dont think I could commit the time or energy to it right now.

  • missfitz

    Made harder no doubt by the absence of postal codes in the south

  • Betty Boo

    Thank you very much, Missfitz. I’m glad I asked, since I have to make already appointments to meet friends. But the idea seems to be a good one. Unfortunately for my area, everyone I know is wild busy as well.

  • If some help is needed with the site, mail me using the “contact” link on my site…

  • Mick Fealty

    MF,

    I doubt the lack of post codes will be a big problem. Here’s how Friends of the Earth solved it.

    I think the way the pledgebank works is that you promise there. I guess it just requires you to have some knowledge/expertise to give, enthusiasm and belief in the project, and sufficient time to give to it.

  • Hi

    The Pledgebank signup process mostly gives me a way of contacting everyone from one place once they’ve volunteered. To do so, just enter your name and email address on the right hand side.

    What the volunteers will actually be doing is:

    a) Helping me port the site code from writetothem to the Irish circumstance – that includes things like adjusting it for multi-member constituencies and adding a language layer so it can also be displayed in Irish

    b) Helping to bully the right person in each local authority area into handing over the Index to the Electoral Register. It’s a file containing a list of all streets and townlands matched against which Electoral Area each is in. We’ll add all of them into a database and use them to ‘build’ council wards and constituencies.

    So no, it’s not *that* much work but there’s some phone time required and it’ll go along much more quickly if it’s more than just me calling them all.

    The FoE thing is an example of all that there currently is. It’s no bleedin’ use because it requires people to know which constituency they’re in to work (and does nothing with local reps). If you’ve not already voted in both a national and a local election while living at your current address, you may have no idea of the answer. Places like Cork and Dublin in particular are not easy to guess.

    So instead I’m making something which does not require that precognition. Users will just tell us which street and town they live in and we’ll tell them who their reps are and which constituencies they live in. Which is a much closer aggregate to the UK answer of ‘tell us your postcode and we’ll take it from there’, and I think far more user-friendly.

    Obviously it’s also my intention to make that lookup service available to other organisations by exposing it as a web service (as Mysociety.org does).

    For those who are interested, I’ve been working on a street-address-to-Google-Maps lookup as well. It’s probably going to dovetail nicely with this electoral stuff as well. You can give it a try here:

    http://handelaar.org/node/584