UK #GE2017: Three ways to get in touch with your candidates

My kind of activism is best described as passive. Or it was. Before I got all fired up about Brexit and decided to do my bit to make a difference. It’s 2017, I have a young family, I live overseas, the UK has given notice to the EU that it intends to leave and it has triggered the 2 year negotiation period. With a surprise-but-not-really election being held on June 8th, this is the year I stepped up and got more involved.

But this is about you and what you can do, so let me explain some of the great online resources I’ve been using to find out more about my candidates, and to take my issues directly to them.

Discover (virtual) election leaflets

If you live in the UK you probably have lots of lovely coloured paper flyers cluttering up your doormat. If you live overseas take a look through electionleaflets.org to find crowdsourced election leaflets. To date they have published 5484 leaflets. You can use your UK postcode to search for leaflets from your constituency.

There is nothing from my sleepy constituency yet. But I’ll be checking in regularly to see what the local issues are that are being addressed by the candidates. If you live in the UK   electionleaflets.org would love you to submit photos of the leaflets that arrive on your doorstep. Check their website for how to get involved.

Find all candidate information in one place online

I used my UK postcode to search citizns.eu to find the candidates standing in my constituency. I used the contact information in the search results to decide how to contact them.

You can also use resources like the Democratic Dashboard or the range of initiatives launched through the fantastic Democracy Club to find rich information about your constituency, options and candidates.

All these resources pull data from the same place — we’ll be talking more about data sources next week. In the meantime check out the quests run by the Democracy club which are designed to give you pretty simple ways to get involved and develop their database of information about the general election 2017.

Tweet your candidate

For my candidates who tweet, I used the great initiative: campaign generator run by tweetyourcandidate.com to ask them all the same question: how would they support me, a UK citizen living overseas.

What I really like about initiatives like tweetyourcandidate.com (and it’s sisters tweetyourmp.com and tweetyourmsp.com) and those run by the democracy club, is that they showcase how simple it can be to engage with your candidate, your MP, your MSP or MEP. We’re trying to do the same thing here at citizns.eu .   The more initiatives like us that there are, the more likely it is that elected representatives (or candidates) will increase the ways they connect with us, their electorate.

For now though, take a look through the resources we’ve shared with you, and reach out to your candidates.  Find out where they stand on issues you care about, and what they will do for you if they are elected to be your MP.  You can read about the responses I got from my candidates next week.


Also published on Medium.