Thursday, 8 April 2010

UK elections 2010: Vote matching apps

Knowing that UK elections are around the corner, I have been looking out for different vote matching websites. The websites take you through a number of questions and then give you your own personalised short-list of political parties to vote for.

The first website I ever saw was for the London mayor elections in 2008. Apparently it was used by over 40,000 Londoners . It was a neat little website produced by Unlockdemocracy - you choose whether you agree or disagree with statements which in turn produces your shortlist plus you can sign-up to get an SMS reminder how to vote on the day. The website was easy and quick to use although the statements were bias - all the non-lefty statements were leaning towards right-wing so I would be surprised if UKIP and Conservatives made anyone's shortlist.

For this elections, has been seriously vamped up - in addition to the website, there is also a votematch application on Facebook. 30 questions, user indicates if they agree or disagree and then at the end of the process they indicate which are the most important policy areas for them. Thirty questions did feel like too much at one point, but because statements were written in normal language and were fairly distinct, it managed to keep my attention and get me to the end of the process.


Few days ago I came across this website.

It's a really nicely done website very usable in its use of design and layout. However, the mechanics of it are really complex - users are asked to chose the parties they are interested in, then chose between 11 areas of policy (from environment, health and defence to immigration and education) and then rate party responses to 5 questions within each area.

If, like me, a user chooses 3 parties - that is over 100 policy statements to read and judge. In addition, a user can rate how important each of the 5 questions within a policy area is... Phew! It gave me a headache.

Also, the party statements were probably taken out of policy documents and as such, most are impenetrable or can be understood in a number of different ways. So just skimming through won't do.

Although the website creators instruct the visitors many times that they can skip some of the 11 policy areas, I found it easier to drop out of the process altogether than rationalise and grade how much I care about different issues.

My short-list
And in case you are interested, this is what my voting shortlist looks like in the order of preference:
My voteadvisor - greens, Libdems, Conservative, Labour.
Votematch - Lib-dems, Labour, UKIP, Conservative.

Yes, there is a little Hitler in all of us ;)

Vote power

Just today my Twitter friends all told me how powerless their vote is thanks to this neat website. I was confused by their tweets "The power of my vote is 0.12" - I wasn't sure if that was good or bad. But the assumption is that democracy = 1 person, one vote. So 1 is ideal. And then there is the whole explanation on how this index was devised which was super interesting (if you like stats).

This one doesn't really help you chose who to vote for. It's more of a light relief after you've been diligently researching party manifestos, listening to leaders and others debates, etc...

Vote with the back of your hand. Surprising how much fun it is to be violent.

Election challenge/

I love this website!
Ideas are user generated - some are odd, some just plain stupid, others are very good. Every user can say if they think other people's idea are good or bad as well as add their own idea. The varied ways of describing good and bad ideas keeps user attention for a long time - this is the only of the elections websites which kept me going for some time. People's ideas are published on Twitter as hot - if they are voted for by people or New - as new ideas come up.

A website that shows you what the "real" situation is in marginal seats and therefore who you should vote for if you want to vote tactically. Who are the main two parties going head to head. In my constituency the fight is between LibDems and Labour apparently. If only! Then I realise that the stats are based on the votes by website visitors.

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