November 3, 2014
VOTING IS SO HARD. Okay, it really isn’t – for the most part, candidates often offer a broad enough spectrum of opinions on multiple issues that make it pretty easy for voters to figure out for whom to vote. There is, however, the likelihood that voters won’t even know anything about the candidates on the ballot (or that they are on the ballot in the first place – ah, the sweet smell of political apathy). In these cases, a little help is surely welcomed. For those who still need a little help figuring out who to vote for in tomorrow’s midterm elections, there’s VOTR – a Tinder for voting Web application that was created by online news publication Vocativ.
The app was designed specifically to help Americans get interested in tomorrow’s midterm elections. Before actually getting into the Tinder-esque portion of the app, it asks users various identity questions, including the primary color of the user’s state, his/her educational background, whether they’ve done military service, if they have kids, and whether they’re a dog or cat owner. It also asks a handful of ideological questions, such as their thoughts on gay marriage, global warming, abortion, and whether Beyoncé or Rihanna is their queen (this is actually one of the questions).
From there, users actually get to the fun, “Tinder for voting” portion. Each candidate profile features their various stances on issues – easily allowing users to determine whether their ideologies match – as well as a short, two-to-three sentence bio with a fun fact. For instance, voters will learn that Kentucky’s Democratic Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes, initially wanted to be doctor, initially pursuing a major that would lead her down that path, and switching after passing out while watching a carpal tunnel surgery.
The drawback here, I think, is the app’s inability to match you accordingly with a specific candidate in your state. Aside from knowing the more general political atmosphere, what’s the point of showing you candidates from other states? Sure, it’s beneficial towards the loftier goal of a more politically-educated public, but it provides no real utility within the context of tomorrow’s election. As you explore the app yourself, you will also be quick to discover that the questionnaire at the beginning really has no point other than having Vocativ collect demographics data; there doesn’t seem to be any kind of algorithm that shows you specific candidates, but rather will show you every candidate on tomorrow’s midterm elections roster. Basically: it’s just a fancier, digital version of political flashcards that attempts into the “Tinder for _____” trend.
I guess in the end, though, the app is still an improvement on not knowing anything at all about any of the candidates on tomorrow’s ballot. And, I mean, I can support anything that helps to fight voter ignorance and apathy; so, check out VOTR.
Did you like this article?
Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!