The political climate of the country affects the lives of every citizen, and that’s why voter education is important. Nevertheless, the problem is more complex than that. The average voter doesn’t necessarily have the time and energy to wade through various sources to get the most thorough, accurate information about political candidates. With different corporations and brands pushing their agendas through the media, it’s harder for voters to sift through the differing points of view to get the entire picture. When citizens feel like there is no one they can trust, voter apathy sets in and paves the way for other challenges. VotingSmarter has decided to do something about it and help voters create the future they want for themselves.
VotingSmarter is a nonprofit civic-tech group helping citizens make a difference through an innovative approach. It started as a website that covered the presidential primaries, sharing helping information along the way. As the team grew to 40+ people, they launched a “dating app for elections.” The app was jam-packed with countless hours of research and advised users on the candidates that best fit their beliefs.
The average user on the dating app spent a little over 5 minutes finding the perfect match for president, house, senate, and governor in the 2020 election. All a user needed to do was take a short quiz on the issues in the country, and the app automatically suggested the candidate whose values aligned with theirs. VotingSmarter helped over 3,000 people get information about these candidates, empowering them to make the most informed decisions.
VotingSmarter has now pivoted to the economic side of politics and launched a browser extension to match shoppers with over 100 of the biggest online brands. The extension allows the consumer to cross-examine the company on various factors, including environmentalism, social responsibility, abortion, gun laws, and diversity. VotingSmarter also provides a list of the top-rated brands for each category. By using this new browser extension, shoppers can refer to brands they love when it comes time to show their support in a category of the political world.
According to the platform’s founder, the move is in line with the team’s core principles to be fair, fast, and fun. Their team prioritizes diversity, providing numerous unique perspectives every step of the way. So far, the team has spent over 4,000 hours of research, and they continue to update their resources to give more value to users.
In the next few years, VotingSmarter wants to accomplish even more for its users. One of the team’s biggest goals is to have redirected billions of dollars of consumer spending and millions in campaign donations by helping users “shop their values.” They also hope to help millions of voters vote for their values rather than for a person based solely on political affiliation. Moving forward, VotingSmarter will be able to serve as a valuable resource for every election. Having thousands of hours of research at your fingertips can empower even the busiest voter to choose the candidate and brands that best fit them.