Londoners considering how to vote in this May’s Mayoral and Assembly elections can now compare their views on issues facing London with those of candidates and parties thanks Vote Match London, a new online quiz which is launched today by the Unlock Democracy campaign.
In preparing the quiz Unlock Democracy asked each of the ten Mayoral candidates and thirteen parties standing for the London Assembly to provide answers to a survey which forms the basis of the web-based application.
Visitors to the site are given a series of statements to which they indicate ‘agree’, ‘disagree’ or ‘neither’. At the end of the questions voters are able to give specific issues extra weight, the results screen then enables them to examine the candidates’ views in more detail and links to further sources of information.
The application has been produced in association with the Dutch Institute for Public and Politics which has been developing Vote Match (known as Stemwijzer in Dutch) since 1989. Versions of system have been used in the latest European, French, German, Swiss and Hungarian elections.
Commenting on the launch, Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey said “This is the first of hopefully several Vote Matches covering the UK elections. In the Netherlands, ‘Stemwijzer’ was used by 1-in-3 voters in the last Parliamentary elections and is recognised as a trusted source of information that helps to increase voter turnout. We are committed to ensuring Vote Match achieves a similar high reputation in the UK.”
The application has been praised by a number of pro-democracy and civic groups. Highlighting the relatively low turnout of 37% in the 2004 GLA elections Ashok Viswanathan, Assistant Director at Operation Black Vote, said “If Vote Match can help people identify issues that matter to Londoners, and give them the confidence to use their voice and use their vote then all of London and wider democracy benefit.”
Anthony Barnett from OurKingdom.org.uk – part of the openDemocracy network – said “In a time of disengagement and cynicism the web increasingly provides a source of hope and opportunity to those committed to democratic renewal and engagement in the UK. Vote Match is a strikingly intelligent and original contribution to this effort”.