Vote Smart's Vote Easy is the 'Match.com' of Politics
With all of the negative campaign advertising on television and radio leading up to Election Day, voters can get lost in the noise.
Project Vote Smart is helping to cut through that though with a free online resource for voters called Vote Easy. It’s a quiz of sorts to help you figure out which candidate most closely aligns with your stances on certain issues.
The voter simply types in their zip code then answers 12 policy questions on anything from abortion to education funding to the environment. The candidates are shown below the questions on campaign yard signs.
“Their yard signs either move forward towards you if you agree with them, or they recede back into the background if you disagree with them,” Adelaide Kimball, senior advisor at Project Vote Smart said.
“So, in a very few minutes you’ve got a sense of which candidate is most like you on the issues that you care about.”
Kimball said they half jokingly refer to the Vote Easy app as “the Match.com for political candidates” because of its ease of use.
“Really when a voter has only the candidates’ TV ads or their mailers--the nonsense that bombards us every election year--we have almost no useful information from the candidates or the parties,” she said.
On their yard signs, candidates are designated as having or lacking courage. That means when Vote Smart reached out to the candidate to answer their 12 questions, they either did or they didn’t.
Since the mid-1990s, Kimball said participation in Vote Smart’s political survey of candidates has decreased drastically.
“Candidates are increasingly less willing to answer questions that will expose themselves to their opponent or opposition research,” Kimball said.
All candidates, though, even third party candidates, are included in the Vote Easy app. Kimball said that’s possible because of the hours of research her small team and volunteers do behind the scenes.
“If the candidate doesn’t answer any of these 12 questions on key issues, our researchers have looked at their public records, their websites, their voting records, their statements and answered the questionnaire for them,” Kimball said.