The site, www.howshouldivote.com.au, which is aimed at easing the often confusing decision making process that encumbers voters come election time every three years, was developed by independent, grass-roots community advocacy organisation, GetUp and has attracted over half of tomorrow’s election candidates.
According to the site’s mantra, it promises to help filter out "the spin, media management, image and campaign guff, and find the candidate in your electorate who believes in the same things that you do".
The site works much like a computer dating site by suggesting the best matched candidate for the user based on a 20 question survey about a range of political policies. A how-to-vote card can then be printed at the user’s leisure for use on election day.
Already the site has received a promising response from the public with some 120,000 punters having voting cards made for them since the site went live this week.
But despite attracting and engaging the public, criticisms have been levelled at GetUp for failing to secure Liberal representation.
In all, 551 of the 1005 candidates who will be running tomorrow’s election have filled out surveys to participate in the site. However, of that figure, only two of the 148 Coalition candidates have chosen to participate.
According to www.howshouldivote.com.au’s project manager, Marcus Westbury, despite repeated attempts to get the Liberal Party involved, they just weren’t interested.
“We’ve been getting a bit of flack because the Liberals are under-represented, but that’s only because they’ve chosen not to participate,” he said. “On the other hand, the minor parties are really keen to get involved because they struggle to get media representation.”
Labor on the other hand has embraced the site, with 129 candidates being represented, albeit with blanket Party policy rather than individual responses. Only 16 Labor candidates supplied personal surveys while the 113 other candidates are represented by a template outlining the Party’s stance.
The Liberal Party was also given an option to use a template, but refused.
Although it seems likely that the Liberal Party ordered candidates to not participate, a Liberal Party spokesperson denied such action.
“We’re a party of free enterprise and our candidates are free to do as they please,” he said.
Liberal Party shuns online how-to-vote site
By Mitchell Bingemann on Nov 23, 2007 3:35PM