Random Hacks of Kindness

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Happening Now Monday, May 26, 2014 View Count = 1448

Random Hacks of Kindness

What do we want? Transparent and accessible political financial data! When do we want it? This weekend! 

This weekend Samara is partnering with Random Hacks of Kindness, an organization that focuses on creating open technology solutions for the challenges facing humanity, both locally and globally. 

What is the problem we’re trying to solve?

We want political party financing to be more accessible and transparent.

Canadians have three opportunities to donate to our political system. They can donate to a national political party, to a candidate (during an election) and to a riding association. Currently Elections Canada records the name, city and postal code of all the individuals who donate $200 or more at each of these levels (national party, candidate, riding association).

What’s the problem? There’s no comprehensive overall picture of political donations to political parties in Canada. How many individuals are donating the maximum amount to political parties ($2400)? Where do the highest donors reside? Compared to other countries, our understanding of political donations is falling behind. 

How can we solve it?

The solution is to combine all these levels of data to create a comprehensive picture of political donations in Canada. Once we have combined all these numbers, researchers will better understand just where and how financial power is exerted in our political system.

The thing is, scraping this information from Elections Canada’s database isn’t easy and requires advanced skills.  The scraper needs to pull names, addresses (including postal codes), size of contributions from the party database as well as the riding association database AND combine both sources of data into a useable file. Once this data is compiled we then want to use GIS mapping to transpose average donation size at the riding level. 

It's a bit complicated, but scrapers will be helping us to build an incredibly useful tool.

Skills Needed

Familiarity with:
     - computer code and script writing
     - GIS mapping software 

Knowledge of financial records is considered a bonus! 

Find the event information and register here. 
The Hack begins this Friday. There will be free food.

On the Samara BlBlog logo representing the letter 'o'g