I think a lot of people don’t vote because they 1.) don’t have time to learn enough about the candidates and issues to feel like their vote is truly informed or 2.) they’re just not sure who and what to believe. Thankfully there are a number of really great apps, websites and services coming to the rescue. I’ve gathered what I think are the best new political and election apps and websites of the year to help you understand political races and make your voice heard and vote count in the 2016 presidential race and beyond. There are several apps listed here that every single American with a smartphone should have installed. If you’ve got a smartphone it would be truly hard to come up with a good excuse for being in the dark about political issues anymore. So whatever your stance (whether your a Democrat, Rebublican, unregistered, outlier, independent, etc.) get your butt in gear and use the power the constitution gives you.
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You know what you believe. Now find out which candidate and party (in any election, including the Presidential race) most closely aligns with your views with Voter. This app’s user interface is Tinder-inspired: swipe right when you agree on an issue and swipe left when you don’t. It will take you less than a minute to answer some simple, important questions using this method and get matched up with parties and candidates. Boom. Figuring out who you want to vote for doesn’t have to be hard (and you might surprise yourself). I can’t help but wonder if the candidates secretly hate this app because I get the feeling they want us to like them based partially on their projected persona, rather than their stance.
Sidewire is an iPhone app that aims to help you cut through the political analysis noise in the news by taking you straight to the source of information. So cut out the commentary and start getting your political information from campaigns, journalists, elected officials and political experts. Does this mean you’ll cut out bias? Of course not. Politicians are biased by nature. But by using this app you’ll hopefully be able to perceive the unfiltered bias from the candidates you’re most interested in (hint: this app will be a lot more relevant to you if you’ve used the Voter app listed above first).
Brigade is an app designed to help you understand the political leanings of your friends. Why? So that you can facilitate intelligent discussion among your social circle. You can express what you think about important issues and then poll your friends to see what they think as well. It’s as simple as answering yes or no. The goal? Find agreement without being disagreeable. I’m curious to see how well this work (because you know what they say about religion and politics). Civilized discussion is important and I hope this tool does it’s job.
Countable is an amazing app and website that lets you communicate your preferences to our country’s leaders while also keeping you informed of arguments for and against issues. Put differently, Countable makes it easy to understand actual legislation that is being voted on, lets you make your voice heard with a simple tap or click and, importantly, gives you the tools you need to see how your elected officials actually vote. It’s a complete picture of the policies that affect your life.
Democracy.io is simply a simple way to contact your congressional representatives. Easy.
To wrap things up we’ve got iCitizen, another app lets you express your opinions on key legislation while aiming to keep you informed of the issues that matter most to you with realtime updates. In short: know your issues, know your reps and make your voice count. I’m not able to download this app today using an iPhone 6s but hopefully that bug will be fixed shortly.