Thanks to those who came along on a sunny Sunday to sit inside and plug data into our portal which, when done, should show how Dublin city councillors have voted on issues that affect the city. (As far as we know, this information’s not easily available anywhere yet.)
Armed with print-outs from the council’s electronic voting machine used at monthly meetings, we tracked down what the different votes related to using past minutes and agendas, logged how each councillor had voted – and searched for any juicy media reports that might help offer context and insight.
Some of the older votes were tricky to track down. And sometimes it was head-wrecking trying to work out how different amendments related to motions. (We won’t feel too bad about that, after all, let’s not forget the fate of the Phibsboro Local Area Plan.)
We logged votes on everything from social housing and public-private partnerships, to granting and taking back the freedom of the city. (We left out votes on whether to do votes, and procedural stuff.)
Surely there’s an easier way, some have said to us. If you work one out, let us know. Because we still have to spend a bit of time double-checking the data and uploading the remaining records, before the website will be ready to go live.
Also, Brian Flanagan, who built it, is going to do a little fine-tuning to make sure it is as easy-to-use as possible. (Right, Brian?) Then we’ll launch it into the world.
If there are other local newspapers, or journalism students, out there that want to do something similar in other local-authority areas, let us know. We’d be happy to collaborate and work with you to expand the portal with records from your area.
Also, if there are readers out there who are willing to spend a couple of hours each month logging new votes, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.