“Match.com for you and your candidates.”
How it Works:
Voters can provide their address, email, answer 10-12 questions, and get matched to the candidates that share their values on national issues. Answering several more questions on local issues (and creating local issues that are important to YOU) will match you to local candidates.
Candidates can join and take positions on national issues like guns, abortion, etc., and also take a stand on local issues created by local voters — and create their own local issues and take a stand on them.
Candidates and voters simply say how they stand on issues and the backend matches them up and shows the voter a ballot with recommended candidates at any point along the way.
There is a huge value for voters and local candidates and judges where information about them is scarce and hard to find.
There is also an opportunity within the app to help voters find their polling place, provide ID requirements, handle reminders, and registration deadlines. Again, with the idea of making voting easier for voters.
Companies, candidates, and organizations have an interest in having their employees, constituents, and members vote for candidates that match their particular vertical value, such as guns for the NRA, labor rights for Unions, or Energy policy for Energy sector companies. These groups would promote VoterBliss to their members with the idea that smarter voting for candidates aligned with their interests is good business. Employees and member would be more likely to be prone to voting in an aligned way with company interests, so it would be in the company’s interests to get their employees to vote, and vote more accurately.
I’ve talked with Unions and they are interested. I’ve talked with countless voters and feedback in very good for younger voters — they want it now and are super enthusiastic. The enthusiasm fades as voters get older, aged 55+ voters are interested but often say that they would not let the app tell them who to vote for. Prime users would be age 18-40.
VoterBliss makes voting easier and more accurate.
Making the connection to local candidates. Boards of Elections do not have any standard way to make their data public, even though by law they are required to do so. They provide it via Excel spreadsheet, webpage, PDF, or whatever. It’s a mess. And by law ballots get solidified (in Ohio) 100 days before an election. That’s when the ‘valid’ data such as candidate names, emails, addresses, etc., would become available. My thinking is that we would have to send an invite to join to the public email address for these candidates to get them into the system in a way that would avoid spoofing. IF we could get the data right away and send out coded invites right away I think a 100-day window would be enough to grow a robust set of ‘Issues’ by both candidates and voters. The more both take a stand on and answer the more accurate the virtual ballot would be.
There is API data that makes the national matching process relatively easy (votesmart.org). But by the time elections roll around national level candidates are known and many people’s minds are made up about them. On the other hand when one goes to vote and sees a list of names on a ballot and they have no idea who they are, we all get that deer-in-the-headlights feeling and either don’t vote or close our eyes, hold our nose, and vote on something minor like name recognition or purely by party – if that’s available. VoterBliss would make this process better and more accurate.
Competitors and similar efforts:
There are others doing this at a national level. As far as I know, nobody handles down-ballot candidates and issues.
- e.thepeople.org —> c3.thevoterguide.org
- Fwd.us – focus on immigration
- Causes.com – https://www.causes.com/ – 186M users >> now Brigade.com
- The 800lb Gorilla, funded by Sean Parker. Building a social network around politics. Looks great and has a lot of users, but no pay-off. They are building a database of issues and voter stances on those issues and would be in a good position to squash VoterBliss if they decided to do what I’m proposing. In my opinion, they need to do something like VoterBliss matching and virtual ballot in order to provide value, otherwise they’re just a place for politi-speak, which I can’t imagine has staying power and deep value for the voter.
civic-information/HistoricalEssembly.com – social political network
- https://twitter.com/demdashSources for Ballot Information:
- Ballotpedia – lots of information, but in wiki pages, so not well-structured/API-able.
- The Ballot Information Project – an NOI project; a fair bit of data, structured (with an API, I think)
- The Voting Information Project – this one has big sponsors (Google, etc.), and has an API as well. data is sketchy.
- Project Votesmart – good API for information and building a new web-app to match voters to national-level candidates.