Thursday 2nd May sees elections taking place in almost 300 councils but research from a new democracy app shows almost 70% of voters have literally no idea who their councillor is.
As voters prepare to go the polls from Aylesbury to York – in what will be the first nationwide test of public opinion after Britain leaves the EU at the end of March – a survey conducted by democracy and polling app Rate Your Leader has laid bare how disengaged many voters are about local politics.
68% of almost 3000 voters surveyed admitted that they do not know the name of their local councillor.
Results were hardly better for councillors voters could name, with respondents referring to their representatives as “an embarrassment” and “a pillock”.
A smaller survey revealed that 90% of voters cannot name their council leader.
The research has been carried out by new democracy app Rate Your Leader, which lets local people identify and contact their elected representatives at the touch of a button, direct from their phones or tablets
The platform also allows politicians to engage only with voters in their constituencies in an abuse-proof way, helping them truly understand what matters most to the people who elect them.
Rate Your Leader founder and high profile tech entrepreneur Joel Popoola responded to the figures.
“These seats were last contested on the day of the 2015 General Election, meaning turnout was uncharacteristically high at around 65% – so these figures don’t just show how few voters know who their councillor is, they also show how few people actually remember who they voted for!
“I’ve seen firsthand how hard councillors work, and how passionate and dedicated they are when it comes to their communities, so I can only imagine what a kick in the pants it must be to have it made so explicit to them just how anonymous they are.
“Local government has much more of an impact over our lives than the national government, and its no good for our democracy for such a small percentage of people to know what is being done in their names, and by whom – especially when the technology exists to tackle the problem.
“With many local elections just being decided by a handful of votes, sitting councillors need to consider ways in which they can make themselves known to their electorate, and technology like Rate Your Leader gives the means to do that from their living room –at time when they will be spending an awful lot of time leafleting and knocking on doors”.
Rate Your Leader is free to download from the App store and other app marketplaces.