Local Elections: What are the Candidates Saying?

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We’re getting very close to election day so I’ve decided to take a look at what the candidates are saying (and how they’re saying it).

A large number of candidates have Twitter accounts and use them for promoting their canvassing efforts. Very few include the actual issues they discuss though. This could be a limitation of the platform but knowing that they’ve had a “great response” tells you very little. These accounts are invaluable for people like me, who are following the election closely, want to know what’s happening now and to get in touch with candidates easily.

This could be a limitation of the platform but knowing that they’ve had a “great response” tells you very little.

A smaller number seem to be getting their “group” message across via Facebook pages. These are pages representing all the candidates for a party (or group) and have a mix of content: Typically news about community events, photos of them canvassing and updates related to their pledges. I’ve noticed a number of groups paying for sponsored posts to reach their audience.

The issue with Twitter and Facebook is that it’s hard to find the important information amongst the stream of updates. I’ve just scanned back through one group’s page and noticed some biographies. These were very interesting but who’s going to find them?

Sadly, very few candidates have dedicated websites. The ones that do tend to be existing councillors. MPs and AMs for the main parties appear to have access to template websites but these don’t seem to be available for candidates. A simple one page website to find out about the candidate’s background and their pledges would be ideal.

atcnc_whiteTelevision and radio are also options for getting the candidates’ messages out but I haven’t seen any programmes in the schedules of local stations. Radio Cardiff did some excellent interviews with Assembly candidates last year so I’m hoping they’ll be able to do something.

Video is a medium that’s cheap and easy to produce these days. I look forward to seeing if any candidates publish any YouTube or Facebook Live videos.

I’m assuming at this point that, unless there’s a sudden late rush, the candidates are going to be relying on canvassing and leaflets. I imagine this is very effective but I don’t see why they can’t put together a simple website to supplement it.

I don’t want to have to make an effort to collect and store all the various leaflets that will be posted over the next few weeks.

I don’t want to have to make an effort to collect and store all the various leaflets that will be posted over the next few weeks. I’d rather have the ability to view each candidate’s background and pledges on the web in my own time and be able to contact them easily if I have any questions.

Is this too much to ask?

I’m going to spend the next few weeks compiling a list of links to all the candidate sites I can find. If you spot any I’ve missed, please get in touch. I’m also sending out a questionnaire to all the candidates I have contact details for. This will hopefully provide some of the information we need to make an informed choice on election day.

Image credit – Ben Collins-Sussman

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