Making UK elections fit for the digital age: Ten ideas

Digital campaigning isn’t new at this point, but it’s still newer than most of the electoral law that governs it. We think it’s time that changed.

The next government should take a step back and do the work needed to improve the rules for British election campaigns in the digital age.

Here’s 10 things they could do:

  1. Enhance and standardise transparency for digital campaigning.
  2. Speed up campaign financial reporting by making it digital, searchable and centralised.
  3. Investigate the dominance of Meta and Google in campaigns. Campaigns spend far too much of their money with just two companies.
  4. Examine whether the updated campaign spending and donation limits are fit for purpose, given the lower cost and higher prevalence of digital campaigning.
  5. Evaluate whether the regulators (Electoral Commission, ICO) have the capability and tools to properly monitor digital campaigning and ensure they have the resources to do so. Allow them to report what they observe.
  6. Commit to improving electoral data – about elections, candidates, polling places and more.
  7. Create a better coordination mechanism to deal with evolving challenges such as artificial intelligence and foreign interference.
  8. Ensure the media and civil society are equipped to hold digital campaigning to account and invest in public education about the changing nature of campaigning.
  9. Work in a cross party way to ensure that reforms to the rules level the playing field, rather than increase the gap between parties.
  10. Collaborate broadly to develop a code of conduct for digital campaigning, to help create new norms and standards of practice.

What do you think? What does the UK need to do to ensure election campaigns are fair, accountable and trustworthy?

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