GotToVote election platform uses open data to streamline Ghanaian elections

ghana election

It’s nearing election time in Ghana, and while the country gears up for another round of votes, the vast majority of the public are finding relevant information hard to access, especially on governmental sites. Ghanaian social watchdog Odekro and Code for Africa have acknowledged this shortcoming, and have thus created a website tasked specifically with providing Ghanaians with easy to access information.

GotToVote provides all visitors with clear, concise and properly formatted information. Alongside an overview of the general voting process, the website elaborates on who’s eligable to vote, what documentation to lug with to voting centres and where those voting centres are — perhaps the most important piece of information.

Although government sites house this information, each voting district has their own “own approach, and storage methods,” notes David Lemayian, Code For Africa’s lead technologist.

“There are big holes in the Commission data, because of all the difficulties in reconciling all these conflicting formats from all the districts. This is a confusing nightmare for ordinary people, becauyse they were expected to download a miss-mash of PDFs, MS Word or MS Excel documents, along with CSVs, to try find where they should register,” he adds.

The original idea was birthed at Code for Kenya, a data journalism experiment ahead of the country’s 2013 elections. It has also been reproduced in Zimbabwe and Malawi prior.

Emmanuel Okyere also notes how the power of open data though GotToVote, allows Africans to exercise a basic human right:

“Voting is a fundamental democratic right for every Ghanaian citizen but, without a voter ID, you cannot exercise that right. This project uses simple, cheap tools to make it easier for eligible citizens to register with the Electoral Commission.”

Visit the site here, or keep up to date with the hashtag, #GotToVote on Twitter and Facebook.

Image: Oluniyi Ajao via Flickr

Andy Walker
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