Making the European elections visible

europeanelections I was thinking about the elections to the European Parliament coming up later this week and the fact that the only information I’ve received about them have been flyers through the letterbox from particular political parties.

Hardly impartial (and no pretence to be), so getting general information – including details of who all the candidates are – isn’t easy for anyone without an internet connection.

Whatever your views are about the European Union, these elections or anything else to do with Europe, having an opportunity to vote in an election that results in people representing you going to the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg is surely worthwhile.

[…] By voting in EP elections, you choose who influences your future and the daily life of close to 500 million fellow Europeans. If you don’t bother, somebody else will – and decide who represents you at the only directly elected Pan-European assembly. Elected MEPs shape the future of Europe for 5 upcoming years. Get the Europe you want! If you don’t vote, don’t complain.

Stark words but worth paying attention to especially now with domestic issues in the UK (notably the MP’s expenses scandal) very likely to play a role in how many people vote.

Luckily, there’s a huge amount of information online that can provide you with useful information that can give you some knowledge about candidates and issues before you head to the polling station to vote (which, in the UK, will be this Thursday June 4; in Ireland, on Friday June 5; and everywhere else during the weekend with most voting on Sunday June 7).

The main European Elections section on the European parliament website is a good starting point for information. The site is quite a feat in logistics as there are versions of the complete content in each of the 23 official EU languages.

There are also the elections pages in your own country: here’s the UK section, for example.

twitter-eu You can follow announcements on Twitter by some people at the European Parliament who have set up accounts in each of those 23 official languages.

If you want to follow a particular Parliament twitterer in your language, finding the twitter ID isn’t too difficult – add the two-letter language identifier at the end of the root name.

For instance, the English account is @EU_Elections_en. In French, it’s @EU_Elections_fr; for Spanish, it’s @EU_Elections_es. And so on.

You can also follow tweets on the main elections website – choose your language from the drop-down list at the right in the top navigation menu – although that implementation isn’t so good as the presentation of information doesn’t include the URLs to each individual tweet (which may not actually matter to most people).

So don’t lose your opportunity to add your vote later this week. You have plenty of resources to get informed.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Stuart Bruce

    In the UK the Electoral Commission spends a lot (£20M+) of our money and part of it goes on About My Vote ( which is all about encouraging people to vote and how to do it. It has also been running adverts (!).

    I have seen them online, but can’t find them easily/quickly on the Commission’s website.

  2. neville

    I’ve not seen any election advertising, anywhere. Mind you, I don’t watch much TV and don’t read print newspapers.

    A flurry of political party flyers through the door last week, and that’s it. And some of those flyers are pathetic especially the BNP and UKIP all with imagery of Churchill, Spitfires, Dunkirk, etc. Good grief!

    About sums up much of the UK approach to Europe, I reckon.

    The big risk is that extreme views about Europe – including those who advocate UK withrawal from the EU – might appeal to people who are mightily angry with mainstream parties especially the party in government (Labour – your party, Stuart!).

    We’ll find out soon enough.

  3. Cat

    Thanks for this Neville – only last week I was bemoaning the lack of general info on what these elections mean and who the candidates are. Good post!

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