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How Open Data can support citizens' participation in elections

The role of Open Data during election time

General elections were held in the Netherlands on Wednesday 15 March 2017 to elect all 150 members of the House of Representatives. According to the official statistics, roughly 82 percent of eligible voters showed up to cast a ballot. The voter turnout far outpaced the 2012 and 2010 election figures, when about 75 percent arrived at the polls.

Open Data can have an important role during elections. Not only to show their results (previous election results published as Open Data), but also to inform the citizens about the candidates, where the polling stations are and how accessible they are for disabled people. According to the Open State Foundation, only seven municipalities had published information about polling stations as Open Data. Having such information available as Open Data might further boost the voter turnout rate.

A best practice in this regard comes from the Dutch Municipality of Dordrecht. Before the elections took place, they had published all relevant information about polling stations on www.dataplatform.nl. This included information not only about the addresses of the polling stations, but also about opening hours and the accessibility of polling stations for disabled people.

The Open Data about the Dutch elections will be published here, and here you can read more about the efforts of the Open State Foundation during the Dutch elections.