By Klaudia Balogh
Swipe left for no, swipe right for yes, but this time not because you want to match with the blue-eyed girl or the handsome guy on your screen.
With the Voter app, you can use the Tinder model to find the 2016 candidate of your dreams.
Swipe one way or the other whether you agree or disagree with a political view, such as subsidizing student loans, labeling GMO foods, increasing funding for renewable energy or requiring background checks to buy a gun.
According to a Census data from 2012, only 45 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted during the election, compared to 72 percent of Americans 65 and older.
Voting begins at the basic awareness level. The more the public knows about the parties and candidates, the more likely they are to make a decision as to which one they support.
Pew Research Center conducted a study during the summer of this year about the political interest and awareness of Millennials and found that only 26 percent names politics and government as one of the top three topics they are interested in, making them the group that’s the least interested in the subject.
Social media apps are out to change that. They are designed to capture Millenials’ attention quickly and educate them in a way that’s most convenient to them — through their smart phone.
Voter is a matchmaker for politics, or you can call it the Tinder of politics. The app brings up different questions about political views and based on whether you agree or disagree with them, by swiping left or right, it will show you a percentage how closely your views align with each party and candidate.
Founders Hunter Scarborough and Suneil Nyamathi say they created Voter to make political data more available and deliver it faster to the 18 to 29-year-old generation who is best approachable through their phone.
“According to Pew, 57 percent of 18 to 29 year olds get political news from social networking apps and nowhere else,” Scarborough said in an interview with GovFresh “The stage is primed to engage Millennials and younger generations on their turf.”
To make sure the data the app uses is accurate, Voter partners and gathers resources from organizations including GovTrack.us, the Sunlight Foundation, Google’s Civic API, OpenSecrets, and Project Votesmart.
“To ensure the highest level of accuracy, we hold politicians accountable to their actions, analyzing candidates’ voting records, public agenda, personal views, speeches and more,” the 25 year old Scarborough said to GovFresh.
Another company that takes politics to social media platforms is Brigade with Facebook’s co-founder Sean Parker being behind the wheel of its development.
The Brigade team wanted to start small with discussion tools that will engage users to talk about their political views, what they agree or disagree with, make survey questions, create groups that follow similar issues and keep up a conversation on hot topics and debates.
Through Brigade users can take a stand on their civic identity. CEO Matt Mahan told The Guardian, it “really comes down to ‘What you believe and care about?’ and ‘What have you done about those things?’”
Starting social media sites and apps that will trigger the political interest of Millennials has been a challenge.
Both Voter and Brigade aim to increase mass civic participation and bring politics to a level where users can not only see the different parties and ballots in a simple setup, but can also share their views on related subjects.
Citing a Gallup poll Scarborough said that 82 percent of Americans do not trust the news and other media when it comes to politics. And with that lack of trust in traditional sources of information, perhaps these new tools will democratize the way voters pick their candidates moving forward.
“When we were thinking about how to engage people in politics, most people say they don’t care about politics. They hate politicians,” Parker told TechCrunch. “Congressional approval ratings are at a historic low. Trust in government is at a historic low. From one point of view, the system is about as broken as it can be, but when we interview users, we find that everyone has an issue they care about or something that they want to change the world.”
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Cover Photo Credit: Voter App/ Facebook