Posts tagged easy voting
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve found the key to making voting easy. Read on to find out how!
Election day is on Monday and I know a lot of you have mixed feelings about it. Because the 2011 Canadian Federal Election is a hot topic right now, it’s come up in a lot of conversations I’ve had with people in general. Of course I’ve asked and been asked “who do you think you will vote for?” and this year the most common reply is “I don’t even want to vote because I think all the parties this year suck.”
It’s no secret that Canada has long been plagued by low voter turnout at federal elections with it’s lowest in history being the last election in 2008, according to Elections Canada. There are many theories as to what causes this and believe me, when I was a Political Science student, we submitted just as many theories as there were blades of grass on campus, leaving us at an unavoidable impasse. The traditional factor attributed to low voter turnout tends to be the youth vote largely being uninterested or disenfranchised. Another major factor is the swing vote – a population of voters who are not particularly committed to any one party, largely due to either apathy about the government of the day or, frankly, a lack of knowledge of each party’s platforms. When you see smear campaigns on TV (and boy are they rampant this year – shame on all the candidates) they are targeted at swing voters. In fact just about any commercial on TV that’s paid for by a candidate’s party are targeted at a fairly uninformed public – a glaringly obvious fact considering that they only show the viewer one side of the issue and try to paint the candidate as a paragon of virtue.
In thinking about the youth vote and the swing vote, I would conjecture that much of the reason behind low voter turnout (aside from the growing sentiment that all the candidates suck equally and therefore there is no cause to vote for any of them) is simply the fact that it can seem like a lot of work to really get a good handle on the platforms of each candidate. People are more likely to vote when issues resonate with them so if there is a significant amount of the population that just doesn’t even know what each candidate is saying, promising, or opposed to, it’s no wonder people don’t show up to the polls. They may very well be intimidated by the whole voting process!
We now live in the information age and you would think that this information is more easily accessible – and you would be right. However although it’s easy to get to, I doubt that the majority of the population will want to take the time to read the entire red book for each party. I’ve even heard some people say they are going to vote for Jack Layton because they like his moustache! Not a responsible way to vote! So if all the information is accessible yet people don’t want to read thousands of words, what can we do? Well I think I just may have found the solution for you!
If there is anything I learned from reading Cole’s notes in university and from working in the digital space with UX designers, it’s that it’s all about how you PRESENT the information that makes all the difference. You can give people the power to make informed decisions on a product, a service, an idea, etc just by breaking down and breaking up the information in to smaller, simpler, digestible chunks that are stated and displayed elegantly and attractively. Could you imagine if Apple put all the nitty gritty specs about the first iPod on the front page of its site and on print ads as a sales pitch? If that was the case we would still be listening to Mini Disc players (perish the thought!).
So what can we do to both encourage the swing voters to get informed and get the youth voters to join the action in the information age. Put it in the palm of your hands. There are two tools I would like to recommend to you that you’re just gonna love. The first is a nifty little phone app for your iPhone or Blackberry called Globe Politics and is a an absolute gem. It will give you all the latest news updates about the Canadian Federal Election as it happens, which is great, but what’s even greater is that you can just click on the “platforms” button and it will give you each candidate’s stance on all the issues this year by category and in SIMPLE POINT FORM! Amazing! It’s available on the app stores and I encourage you strongly to download it and skim through the issues that resonate with you. That way you can at least make an informed decision come Monday and even help your friends do the same since you can now be a political pundit
Some of you may be saying “but I still don’t know which party best suits me” or may still resist putting in the time to download the app and read the simplified platforms – and to that I would say no problem, ya lazy bum! The CBC has a great web app that asks you a series of survey type questions about each issue and when you’re done tells you which party is the most aligned to your values! The tool is called Vote Compass and will ask you 30 simple, multiple choice questions before making a party recommendation for you!
Oh, and ONE MORE tool for those of us who think the idea of metered internet is bogus and free internet is an extremely important issue this election, Open Media has created a tool to find pro-internet candidates in your riding. Just fire in your postal code and you will see the candidates who will represent for you on that issue!
That’s all! You have the tools, you have the power, so let’s bring those voter turnout rates up and make this one count! If you have any questions at all, comment below and I will do my best to help you out.