At the Harrogate District Consensus, run by the Crowd Wisdom Project, we host online anonymous conversations about the big issues affecting Harrogate. We use political technology – Polis – to undertake our anonymous surveying. So far, we’ve had around 60,000 votes on the key issues impacting Harrogate.


Harrogatonians are voting either – agree, disagree or unsure – up to 45 times per conversation, on anonymous statements suggested by fellow residents. A mind-boggling amount of data per issue is created.


Once a conversation is closed, we use a data scientist to tell us where the consensus points – if any – are. All the data is released, so that people can draw their own conclusions.


We have added all of May’s election candidates to the platform, including the candidate’s statement, contact details and leaflets. When a consensus is found in a conversation, we ask the candidates what their views are on the consensus and, if elected, whether they will enact the wishes of the people.


Essentially, spearheaded by Andrew Gray, we are helping candidates to learn what their electorate think and also connecting people to power, whilst harvesting the very best ideas within the town. Win, win, win.


We expect that by election time in May 2022 we will have more in-depth, granular polling information about Harrogate than has ever been seen in any election in history.


A similar conversation is underway in neighbouring, historic Knaresborough, with Knaresborough Voice. Wigan is also trialling this technology which was created by The Computational Democracy Project in Seattle.