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General Election 2024: The Technology you Need To Navigate ‘Dirtiest but Most Sophisticated Campaign yet’

A guide to a host of new tech helping voters make smart decisions and see through misinformation

Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage has a drink thrown over him as launches his General Election campaign in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex on June 4. Photo: PA Images / Alamy
Leader of Reform UK Nigel Farage has a drink thrown over him as he launches his General Election campaign in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex on June 4. Photo: PA Images / Alamy

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The election is just weeks away and we’ve already seen a host of dirty tricks in what one expert has suggested will be the “dirtiest but most sophisticated campaign so far”.

As campaigning becomes increasing digital, there are a number of new tools to get voters and campaigners through the thick of it.

While both the Labour Party and Conservatives have joined TikTok, and at least occasionally appear to grasp what a a meme is, digital campaigning and election technology goes well beyond social media – it covers voter education tools, social listening tools, and many other categories.


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To help you make sense of it it all, here’s a rundown of some of the essential tools you need to know about to get a handle on this growing area – and the threats and opportunities it poses.

All these tools and many more are possible to find in The Election Tech Handbook, maintained by the London College of Political Technology at Newspeak House. They’re also running a hackspace every day until the election for technologists interested in building election technology.

In the period since the last election, there’s been something of a quiet revolution in non-partisan tools, pioneered by groups like Democracy Club and mySociety. They give crucial information to those who need it and they’re scrupulously non-partisan. 

One of its most important service is Who Can I Vote For? Deceptively simple, it does just what it says it will: it lets you know exactly who your candidates are based on where you live. It’s based on a crowdsourced list of candidates that Democracy Club puts together because a central list of all candidates standing in the election isn’t maintained by the Electoral Commission.


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But knowing who you can vote for matters little if you haven’t registered to vote, which many young people haven’t. There are a large number of tech projects rushing to get voters registered before the application deadline of 18 June.

Just Register shows you how under or over-represented the power of your constituency is using your postcode, in an effort to boost voter registration. Democracy Classroom puts together information for voters specifically targeting younger people.

If you’re not a British citizen, you might assume you can’t vote at all, but that’s not necessarily the case. Many people can vote in at least some elections. Can I Vote? answers that question. Put in your nationality and it will advise which elections you can vote in – Commonwealth citizens in particular are in for a surprise.

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If you want more insight into what the government actually does, there’s a suite of other tools that bring to life the data they are obliged to publish online.

Open Access UK looks at the often-murky world of lobbying with a dashboard showing who is meeting figures in government, when and for what purpose. You can search by minister, department, lobbying organisation and more. Data comes from the UK Government, where it is reliable, but not presented in the compelling way it is here.

But who to vote for? One project that is looking to help you answer that question is Vote for Policies. It presents a list of policies, without telling you whose they are. At the moment, it is looking for volunteers so that it can quickly turn the manifestos into neutral descriptions as soon as they are published.

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And even if you haven’t thought about the political parties much, they’ve thought about you. Who Targets Me is one of most important projects going: it tracks the ads that you’re being bombarded with across the internet. It got its start at Newspeak House in 2017, where the election hackspace is now based.

These are worrying times for many when it comes to the accuracy of the information we receive. Full Fact is a team of independent fact checkers who fact check viral images, news stories and politicians’ claims. They also write extensive reports into the state of misinformation, provide briefings on The Online Safety Act and maintain a list of MPs who have not corrected the record. They are currently running a petition to ban politicians from using ‘deceptive campaigning practices’, such as pretending to be your local newspaper and have published a list of minimum standards for manifestoes in the UK.

For those who want a lighter take on misinformation, Double Check is a game in which you hone your skills of noticing when something is amiss. Sometimes, it’s because of pretty evident manipulation of images, but other times it’s much more subtle, like a cropping of an image that misleads as to its real content.

Or, perhaps, you don’t want to have anyone elected for you – why not step into the shoes of a politician yourself? Policy Spin is another game: you play as a politician trying to sell your policies, not to the public, but to that much more difficult nut to crack: the newspapers. In response to whatever policies you come up with, the game uses Generative AI to write hostile newspaper articles, rubbishing your plans. Can you woo the press?

Or perhaps none of these pieces of technology is quite what you’re looking for. Why not make your own? Newspeak House in Shoreditch, London is running a hackspace for all those interested in building election technologies, open every day until the election:


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