A Political Matchmaker the Youth Vote Has Been Waiting For

Written by Anthony Petronzio, Photo Courtesy of Hunter Scarborough

In our smartphone-dominated society, there seems to be an app for every aspect of our lives. Whether it be for news (Twitter), gossip (Yik Yak), or even love (Tinder), we have found ways to connect everything to the phones in our hand.

Tinder especially has shown to be heavily influential; not just for the way it has changed modern hookups, but for its creative “swipe” model as a means of sifting through information. Hunter Scarborough, an aspiring entrepreneur, noticed how efficient Tinder’s model was and decided to apply it to a significantly different aspect of society: politics.

After graduating from Chapman University, Scarborough started his work on a new app when he realized he didn’t have the time to properly research candidates while working 12-hour days. Scarborough said he wanted to design an app that was a “quick, fun, easy way to figure out who to vote for.”

The app is designed for the person who wants to engage in politics without the time-consuming and often biased research that comes with it. It’s called Voter, and while it’s only available through the iTunes store for iOS users at the moment, it is in the works of being developed for Android users with no set release date. The premise of Voter is simple: questions appear on your screen (for example, “should abortion be legal?”) and you can swipe left or right to indicate a yes or no answer to it.

If you want to know more about the topic, you’re able to tap an icon on the screen and it provides you with more information. When you finish with the questions, Voter uses your answers and cross-references them with the views of all the major candidates running for president. Voter then provides results that not only shows you which candidate you most identify with, but also creates a chart revealing which end of the political spectrum you lean towards. Additionally, the app allows users to donate money to the candidate of their choosing directly through the app.

Voter is still relatively young in its development, having only been launched July 4, 2015, and since then it’s only been updated a handful of times. Scarborough, however, has big plans for the app in the future, and sees a lot of potential for growth. While Voter’s main priority right now is the 2016 presidential race, Scarborough has said he wants to use the app so voters can be informed about local elections as well, starting with elections in Los Angeles this fall. From there, he plans on using Voter as a type of “social media for candidates,” and believes Voter can give political candidates in both national and local elections a new way to connect with the general populace.

Scarborough also sees potential for Voter as an analytical tool. He used the unexpected win of pres. candidate Bernie Sanders in the Michigan primary as an example of how traditional polls do not always capture the actual view of the voting public. Scarborough noted that Voter’s data, with its popularity among millennials, could be a more accurate predictor of election results.

Recent polls show that 60 percent of Americans do not trust major news sources, with younger Americans being less likely to trust the mainstream media. Voter comes at the perfect time, as it appeals highly to the app-happy millennial generation and allows for people with an interest in politics to learn about issues on an unbiased platform. In an ever-so-crowded race to the White House, getting the straight facts is important, and yet it grows increasingly difficult through traditional media outlets. Voter’s simplicity will make for more of the youth vote to be informed and, in turn, aid them with decision-making in the long run.

Scarborough himself has said the app is “primed for millennials and the younger generations.” Thanks to the massive amount of voters who go uninformed about candidates’ stances on major issues, especially young ones, an app like this could become an instant necessity with the many primaries and caucuses going on throughout the country.

Should you choose to download and play around with the app, who knows? For the first time in your life, politics might actually be less of a drag!

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