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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Political E-canvassing and E-campaigning in Ireland

A Politics.ie thread I started on the wider subject but has anyone noticed the product made by enterprising Fianna Fail councillor Brendan Finucane from Cork Brendan Finucane, Local Area Rep | Fianna Fáil

Vconnecta Mobile Ecanvasser. He had been working on it at an UCC tech incubator and then launched the app recently.

Vconnecta Solutions

Ecanvasser explained basic area segmentation

Ecanvasser features

VConnecta and the environment

Lengthy,historical records of prior canvasses and other political operations can be maintained through theo nline dashboard rather than kept in physical paper files.
Further more,our online functionalitym eans that full backups can be taken of each of these, ensuring that digitizing your data does not mean compromising its long-term accessibility and
safety.

He's obviously hoping to replicate a part of the Amercan Democratic Party success in managing a canvassing campaign digitally ( the other part being the MyObama type social network/email tracking campaign ).

Of course he's excited about the being able to manage political campaigns, and hold information on people, I'm interested in will this make it easier for us to request and find out how much information political parties hold on us.

He's obviously looking to sell it to any party that wants it but could this give a head start to FF renewal.

Political Parties are exempt from some of the Data protection act.

Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003: Informal Consolidation.

1.-(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

"direct marketing" includes direct mailing other than direct mailing carried out in the course of political activities by a political party or its members, or a body established by or under statute or a candidate for election to, or a holder of, elective political office;
2B- (1) Sensitive personal data shall not be processed by a data controller unless

(x) the processing is carried out by political parties, or candidates for election to, or holders
of, elective political office in the course of electoral activities for the purpose of compiling
data on people's political opinions and complies with such requirements (if any) as may be
prescribed for the purpose of safeguarding the fundamental rights and freedoms of data
subjects

6A. Right of data subject to object to processing likely to cause damage or distress
6A - (1) Subject to subsection (3) and unless otherwise provided by any enactment, an individual is entitled at any time, by notice in writing served on a data controller, to request him or her to cease within a reasonable time, or not to begin, processing or processing for a specified purpose or in a manner specified by the individual any personal data in respect of which he or she is the data subject if the processing falls within subsection (2) of this section, on the ground that, for specific reasons-
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply-
(c) to processing carried out by political parties, or candidates for election to, or holders of
elective political office, in the course of electoral activities, or


S.I. No. 657/2007 - Data Protection Act 1988 (Section 16(1)) Regulations 2007

It seems that political parties or politicians don't even have to register while they do in the UK

Vconnecta say they are Data Processors not Data Controllers and are exempt because the Data Controller whose data they are processing is exempt.

Vconnecta's End User Licenses agreement which also highlights their data protection in section 14 unfortunately the privacy policy they link to isn't working.

Vconnecta Security

Ecanvasser in the 2014 local elections: some key stats | Vconnecta Blog

In total, we now have over one million constituents registered on our system. Based on the last (2012) census population statistics which placed the population at 4.589 million, this means that 22%, or slightly over one in five Irish citizens, is attached to a canvasser account on our system as a registered occupant.

Over 16,000 houses were canvassed with Ecanvasser during the campaign.

but will anyone admit to using, non-one has so far...?

Another popular e-campaigning product from America is Nationbuilder, examples of Nationbulder being used in Ireland,

Jack chambers Fianna Fail Castleknock Fingal. (only example I could find of someone using a campaigning website like this but he hasn't de-Americanised it entirely).
Paul Murphy 2014
Paul Murphy/Socialist Party for scambridge site
Stephen Donnelly
Lorraine Clifford
Anti Austerity Alliance

LibDem Example of hoe much info parties have on people in the UK.

Activists boast but then clam up.

One time a political activist boasted about the amount of information that the party held on people they canvassed, I queried his boast and he clamed up, I've never been canvassed personally at my home, but if anyone has you should be able to request what information they hold on you under Section 4 of the Data protection Act, 1988.

Marked Register
I noted a councillor talking about looking through the marked register ( the register of electors with the names of those who voted marked ) for the recent local elections, she says she found a person who she knows is dead voted and found another who voted twice at a new and old address, to me this seems like some evidence of electoral fraud that she should give to the Gardai to investigate further?

I asked here whether she was going to go to the police with the issue, but got no reply.

DPC Guidance
Guidance to Political Parties on Electronic Direct Marketing in upcoming Elections
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has this week written to all political parties reminding them of the restrictions on Electronic Direct Marketing in the upcoming European and Local Elections.
reminding them not to use list of contacts they got from other sources like sports club text lists etc, I wonder did they punish anyone for doing this last time.

Case Study Case study 5 Political database and a charity request, "spamming" of constituents and non co-operation from a County Councillor

Guidance letter to all political parties regarding European and Local Elections – Polling day 24th May 2014 Restrictions on Electronic Direct Marketing / Canvassing

Avoid sending electoral messages by electronic means to persons other than those (such as party members) who have consented to receipt of such messages. See Section 13(1) of the attached Appendix.

Ensure that those persons who have given prior consent to be contacted or have opted-in, have done so within the last 12 months or have renewed this consent (i.e. have not opted-out) within that period. See Section 13(11)(d) of the attached Appendix.

Do not attempt to obtain or use contact information from third parties.

Be aware that should this office receive any complaints from members of the public that these criminal allegations will be investigated by this office and appropriate action will be taken. Where our investigations of any complaints received establish that offences have been committed, the offender may be prosecuted and, if convicted in the District Court, may face penalties of up to €5,000 in respect of each separate offence. See Section 13 (13) (14) & (15) of the attached Appendix.

The Data protection issue a number of guidance letters Guidance to Political Parties on Electronic Direct Marketing in upcoming Elections.

John Gormely wanted the marked register public so prospective employers could see whether people voted or not
Dáil Éireann - 22/Jun/2001 Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2000 [ Seanad ] : Second Stage.

Members of parliment refusing to help based on the marked register.

In Northern Ireland/the UK,

Undue Influence is a corrupt practice
The BBC have a brief report that the Electoral Office is investigating the claim:

staff at Sam Gardiner’s office allegedly refused to assist constituents because they had not voted in the Assembly election.

In Electoral Office report on Marked Register in 2005 the Electoral Commission said,
The supply of such data certainly facilitates the possible commission of the offence of undue influence contrary to s.115 RPA 1983.

I can't find that report but a Electoral Office survey on Marked Register in 2003. said
88% [of those surveyed] are in agreement that whether or not they vote should remain a private matter.

and it happens in Ireland to.

Ned O’Keeffe: Let them eat cake

Deputy O’Keeffe said he was being honest with the parents’ council of Rathcormac NS when he said he would not lobby the Minister for Education, Batt O’Keeffe.

He explained that he had not received votes in the area when he ran for election to the Dail in 2007. Evening Echo (Cork).

Pádraic McCormack [former FG TD] would be a useful exercise if marked copies of the register were available in each constituency, even for longer than a five-year period. In some elections the marked register was available on computer disk. It is a useful exercise for anybody, particularly public representatives, to know who votes. When lobby groups come to a public representative’s office, it is useful to look up the register to see if they exercised their right to vote. If they did not, I treat them different from the people who did, irrespective of whom they voted for, and I tell them that. If the public record was available, one would be able to do that. It would encourage more people to vote if all public representatives dealt legitimately with people who exercised their right to vote, rather than paying too much heed to people who did not vote.
Select Committee on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government - 11/Nov/2008 Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2008: Committee Stage.

There may be a difference between lobbying and asking a TD for help but its often mixed and even non-voters are citizens? is the job of politicians to serve constituents full stop.

The relevant law in Ireland is Section 97 of the Local Elections Regulations 1995

Undue influence.

97. A person who, in relation to an election, directly or indirectly makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restraint against or inflicts or causes or threatens to inflict or cause any temporal or spiritual injury or loss on or to any person, or attempts by abduction, duress, or fraud—

(a) to induce or compel any person to vote or refrain from voting, or to vote or refrain from voting for a particular person or in a particular way, or shall be guilty of an offence.

Blogs mentioning the marked register.

What do councillors do all day?

Doors of Perception

Lobbying your TD.

Report on the observation undertaken in Dublin Central and RDS by the de Borda Institute.

Confessions of a former electoral canvasser

canvassing "marked register" on Slugger O'Toole

How to track your voters in an STV PR system? SF’s system can help…

Electoral registers Sarah Carey

Part Three – Polling Day

Every polling station allows some party workers to mark off sheets inside the polling stations as voters come in. Those sheets are not allowed to leave the room. But SF need the info on them so they know who has voted, and who they need to rap on the doorstep to get them out to vote, offer lifts etc.

The answer? Post it notes, with the numbers written on them, and smuggled outside

Sheena's 'Torrent' model

Fianna Fail canvassers guide

Electoral fraud
Electoral fraud is rare the personation agents seem to be get out the vote agents.

What ever happened to these Irish 'election fraud' investiagations in relation to the 2009 local elections.

Fresh poll fraud fears as another 'full' house is vacant Longford

Council launches electoral fraud inquiry Monaghan

nothing it seems,

Electoral fraud inquiry moves closer

The emergence of the fresh claims mirror similar ones that were made in the lead-up to the 2009 local elections.

That investigation resulted in a Garda file being sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Nothing came of it, however, and no charges were ever handed down.

Electoral fraud allegations raised at Longford Town Council

Register of Electors Dail 2014
There are no provisions in law for the public inspection or making available of the marked copy of the register of electors at a Presidential election or at a referendum.

Laws/Regulations

S.I. No. 297/1995

LOCAL ELECTIONS REGULATIONS, 1995.
Duties of presiding officer at close of poll.
(2) As soon as practicable after the close of the poll, the presiding officer shall seal each ballot box in his or her charge so that no further ballot papers can be inserted therein and shall attach the key thereto and seal up, separately in respect of each poll, in separate packets—
(b) the marked copies of the register,

Section 131 of the Electoral Act 1992

131.—All documents sent by a returning officer in pursuance of this Act to the Clerk of the Dáil, other than documents referred to in section 130 , shall be open to public inspection at such time and under such conditions as may be specified by the Clerk of the Dáil. The Clerk of the Dáil shall supply copies of or extracts from the said documents to any person demanding the same, on payment of such fees not exceeding the reasonable cost of copying and subject to such conditions as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance.

section 94 of the Local Elections Regulations 1995
Duties of returning officer in relation to documents relating to postal voters.


41. (1) As soon as may be practicable after the completion of the issue of the ballot papers to postal voters and in the presence of the agents of the candidates, if any, the returning officer shall seal up in separate packets the marked copy of the postal voters list and the counterfoils of the ballot papers issued to postal voters.


Inspection of certain other documents.


94. All documents relating to an election retained by the returning officer in accordance with article 92, other than documents referred to in article 93, shall be open to public inspection at such time and under such conditions as may be specified by the returning officer. The returning officer shall supply copies of or extracts from the said documents to any person demanding the same, on payment of such fees not exceeding the reasonable cost of copying and subject to such conditions as may be determined by the local authority.

S.I. No. 204 of 2014
————————
ELECTORAL ACT 1992 (SECTION 165) REGULATIONS 2014
Marked register of electors.
25. (1) Notwithstanding rule 93(3)(d) of the Second Schedule to the Act of
1997, and regulation 92(2)(a) of the 1995 Regulations, the European local
returning officer shall place the marked copies of the register of electors referred
to in regulation 19(c) in separate sealed packets and shall mark on each packet
particulars of its contents, the date of the polling day at the polls and the county,
[204] 17
city or city and county to which they relate and shall as soon as practicable
forward the packet or packets to the relevant local authority returning officer.
(2) The local authority returning officer shall, in relation to the marked copies
of the register of electors received by him or her pursuant to paragraph (1),
comply with the provisions of regulations 92(3) and 94 of the 1995 Regulations
in respect of such copies of the register.

S.I. No. 237 of 2004
Marked register of electors.


25. (1) Notwithstanding section 38(2)(a) of the Act of 1994 and rule 93(3)(d) of the Second Schedule to the Act of 1997, the local returning officer shall place the marked copies of the register of electors referred to in article 19(c) of these Regulations in separate sealed packets and shall mark on each packet particulars of its contents, date of polling day at the polls and the county or city to which they relate and shall as soon as practicable forward the packet or packages to the returning officer for the local elections for the county concerned.


(2) The returning officer for the county election shall retain the marked register as specified in article 92(3) of the Regulations of 1995.


(3) Section 38 and 39 of the Act of 1994 and section 20 and rule 93 of the Second Schedule of the Act of 1997 shall apply to the marked register retained by the returning officer under this article.

Constituency Database Management

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Annual Report 2007


relevant electoral register(s), which the office tidies following receipt from local authorities each year and then integrates into the database.
this system facilitates tailored and targeted correspondence ranging from individual replies to customised and personalised constituency mailshots;

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Annual Report 2008

A comprehensive Constituency Database Management system for handling constituency casework, which is now in use by 145 members. This database incorporates the relevant electoral register(s), which the Office processes following receipt from local authorities each year and then integrates into the database. This system facilitates tailored and targeted correspondence ranging from individual replies to customised and personalised constituency mailshots.

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Annual Report 2009
Scanning equipment linked to the Lotus Notes Constituency Office database,.. members’ constituency databases,.. the
constituency database has been upgraded to "write/edit access" under this facility also.

A comprehensive Constituency Database Management system for handling constituency casework, which is now in use by 155 members. This database incorporates the relevant electoral register(s), which the Service processes following receipt from local authorities each year and then integrates into the database. This system facilitates tailored and targeted correspondence ranging from individual replies to customised and personalised constituencymailshots.

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Annual Report 2010
IMPROVING SERVICES TO PARLIAMENT
The Bills Office also carries out tasks on behalf of the Clerk of the Dáil in relation to Dáil General Elections. Once the Dáil dissolved in early 2011, the Bills Office issued the Writs to the Returning Officers of 43 constituencies. Following the election, it arranged for the receipt and storage of election documents (including ballot papers), and for the scanning and making available of the marked registers of electors. Later on in the year it will arrange for their ultimate destruction in line with electoral legislation, but before that, every marked electoral register in the country (that is, the copy of the register on which the voter’s name is crossed off in the polling station when they receive their ballot paper) will be scanned electronically by the Bills Office, and copies of these marked electoral registers will be furnished to whoever requests them (on payment of a fee).

A comprehensive Constituency Database management system for handling constituency casework, which was used during 2010 by 160 members of both Houses. This database incorporates the relevant electoral register(s), which the Service processes following receipt from local authorities each year and then integrates into the database. This system facilitates tailored and targeted correspondence ranging from individual replies to customised and personalised constituency mailshots

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Annual Report 2011
Electoral support functions
Receipt and scanning of marked register of electors.

IMPROVING SERVICES TO MEMBERS
a comprehensive constituency database management system for handling constituency casework. This system facilitates tailored and targeted correspondence ranging from individual replies to customised and personalised constituency mailshots

General election functions of Clerk of the Dáil successfully discharged, including issue and return of writs, receipt and custody of election documents and making marked electoral registers publicly available.

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Annual Report 2013

a comprehensive constituency database management system for handling constituency casework. This system facilitates tailored and targeted correspondence ranging from individual replies to customised and personalised constituency mailshots

Data Protection Commissioner Registry Details for 'Houses of the Oireachtas Service'

The Service fulfills the Clerk of the Dáil's obligation under section 131 of the Electoral Act 1992 by scanning and retaining for six months the marked electors registers for Dáil general and bye-elections (refer to Disclosees 5.14)


14. Marked Electoral Registers. These scanned marked registers are made available to requestors under the Electoral Act 1992, on condition that those requestors do not use the marked registers for commercial, direct marketing, or any other non-statutory purpose, and that those requestors comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003

E-campaigning

Student Elector Registration Database
Launched in August 2013 with the aim of getting 50,000 registered, got 10,000 say they got registered vote.usi.ie webpage not working, no updates on its since then.
SERD, the Student Elector Registration Database, is the voter registration and direct communication tool used by the Union of Students in Ireland. It encompasses a suite of cutting-edge technologies, some open-source and some proprietary, to gather information from students, resource them with information to inform their own electoral and lobbying decisions and pipe information about student concerns to all the country’s political parties

Students vow to Fight for their Future
Revenge Of The SERD Broadsheet.ie
Students Vow To Form United Voting Block Using New USI Database
10,000 Student voters mobilise ahead of Seanad Poll

Contact.ie
A contact your representative site, it encourages you to contact all TDs from one party rather then just your TDs which is a mistake.

Stop Sopa Ireland
Stop Sopa Ireland Site encouraging you to pledge to and actually visit your TD in person. Also a petition site.
Sherlock confirms that ‘Irish SOPA’ has been signed into law



Fine Gael

Web guru nonsense viral sites just to harvest emails could be againt the law if they are not clear about future use of the email.
Suzy Byrnes posts on Fine Gael Web guru

EU Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC)
Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 informationrightsandwrongs

Its incredible just how badly Fine Gael chose their digital guru... the Campaign Money Scandal Rocking San Diego

Fianna Fail
Blue State Digital Fianna Fails website, direct marketing and email harvesting.
How sneakily are Blue State Digital tracking NGO political campaign emails ?

Labour
Labour's website is made by Digital Revolutionaries


claimingourfuture.ie political network
Petition site
www.icampaign.ie/ iCampaign is an online fundraising platform for election candidates

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