This website is helping students vote tactically

Louis Dor
Tuesday 16 May 2017 16:00
Science and Tech
Picture:(Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images/edited by indy100)

These general election websites are getting personal about voting tactically.

First a spreadsheet circulated on social media which detailed which way to vote if you want to oust the Conservatives.

Now, a website is advising students as to which constituency they should vote in.

The website, GE2017.com, asks students to enter the postcodes for their family home and for their university home.

It then compares which seats are most competitive and between which parties, to make a recommendation on where your vote will be more influential.

Crucially, the website is impartial and non-partisan, meaning it only advises you on where to vote, not whom to vote for.

Jeremy Evans, the co-founder of Explaain (alongside co-founder Matt Morley), told indy100 how the process works for determining the constituency:

We've built a custom algorithm that brings in data from several different sources, not just the 2015 election results - we take into account everything from betting odds to how well a constituency's Brexit vote matches up with that of their current MP.

There's also public data on which seats the parties themselves are targeting, which obviously has an impact on the likely results.

It's attracted a lot of attention.

The website has had 70,000 users in a few days, and is currently getting a new user every half a second.

We only launched the student postcode tool a few days ago and the reaction so far has been phenomenal.

We're currently spending half our time just making sure it can cope with the fast-growing numbers of visitors!

We're launching our full voting site in the coming days so are really excited to see how people engage with the other features.

A recent news story by BuzzFeed crunched the numbers and claimed that Labour would need a 261 per cent turnout among under 25s to displace the 2015 Conservative election lead.

In short, young people don't have the voting power to shift the election on their own - especially when you factor in that they all don't vote as one homogenous group.

Jeremy told indy100:

There's a lot of talk at the moment around the lack of power students and young people have when it comes to politics.

But our tool shows that students are actually in a unique position where their vote has a higher potential impact than any other voter, because they can be tactical in where they choose to vote.

The whole idea came from my cofounder Matt's sister, who was asking him where she should register to vote.

He ended up building her a spreadsheet, which turned into v1 of the site. She remains the first person that all new features are tested on!

It might not turn the election, but who's to say it won't turn any seats?

How did it make the journey online?

At Explaain, we said as soon as this election was announced that it will be the one that brings tactical voting into the mainstream - and polling data is now showing that at least a third of voters are considering voting tactically.

The student postcode tool and every other feature of GE2017.com are designed with that in mind - that people want to see what action they can take from a practical viewpoint.

It's up to voters whether they vote tactically, but our mission is to make sure people know what their options and be as informed as possible come June 8th.

Explaain, the company behind the website, is a interactive service that integrates with newsrooms using fact cards embeds to provide accurate quick information in articles.

Jeremy said:

At Explaain our mission is to make it ten times easier to read the news.

The snap election is such an important time for people to get accurate, easy-to-understand, personalised information that we decided to drop everything and focus on building a free product that could genuinely help people be savvier voters.

You can visit the website here.

More: People are sharing this spreadsheet of how to vote tactically

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