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Vote Compass for Literacy and Engagement

For the Canadian Federal Election 2011, Canada's national public broadcaster (CBC) launched Vote Compass, an interactive online tool intended to enhance electoral literacy and stimulate voter engagement.

Photo of Gabrielle Provost
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"By filling out a simple questionnaire, you can compare your views on the issues to the positions of the major political parties. (...) You can also choose to offer your impressions of the major party leaders and the parties themselves. (...) When you're done, Vote Compass produces three different results: one indicates where you are on the political landscape compared to the parties; another shows you how much you agree with each of the parties; and the third highlights how you rank the party leaders."


I'm ashamed: I don't follow politics, but I believe that voting is very important. During the 2011 federal elections in Canada, I tried the Vote Compass because I saw on Facebook that some of my friends had use it. I gave it a shoot because it would not test my knowledge about politics... otherwise, I would have feel insecure. Instead of telling me what party wants what, the tool led me to ask pertinent questions about MY values and MY opinions. After the "test", I was happy to see my values and my opinions correlate (more or less) with those of the political parties involved. The information was visual and graphical so with a quick look I could understand what were my similarities and differences with them. I felt empowered. I like to compare the tool to a Wizard in the sense that it helps you through the steps of a smart reasoning about politics.


Accessibility for those with cognitive disabilities is often an overlooked topic even though it affects a large number of people. There are different problems people  may have that affect their ability to vote such as memory, reading text (e.g. dyslexia), problem solving, keeping focused, etc. These people can vote, but might need help understanding the political issues and making the right decision. A tool similar to Vote Compass could help them, and the population at large.


"Vote Compass echoed the voices of the nearly 2 million Canadians who used it during the 2011 federal election campaign (...) and provided insights into political opinions across Canada."


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Photo of DeletedUser


Looks interesting! However, how could it work if thereĀ“s a lot of parties? or more than one candidate in the same party?
That tool sound wonderful for young people that dont follow politics so much but feel the citizen right to vote.

Photo of Gabrielle Provost

Thanks for your comment Camila!
If there's a lot of parties, there would be more possible answers per question. But too many choices would become cumbersome. Personally, I would not exceed 6... If there are too many parties or candidates, a similar tool could be designed to help people structure their thinking and consider major issues. It could also be targeted to people with cognitive disabilities and used prior to the vote itself. Then, it would enhance the "expected user experience" (before the interaction, ie. vote).

Photo of DeletedUser


Hi Gabrielle,

I saw this too and thought it was a really interesting tool to engage people, particularly those who don't consider themselves very political. Multiple parties and candidates could make it a little more complicated than just dealing with the 4 major parties in Canada (5 in Quebec) but I think the compass could be calibrated for multiple platforms with additional questions. I hope the CBC rolls this out again!

Photo of Paul Reader

Interesting idea and a subtle way of showing how similar many parties are with only a few issues separating them It would be interesting to be able to see (over a number of years) how the party positions change according to the changing demographic mix. The modal (most common) age in Australia is 26, although the state in which I live has a modal age of 50. This is interesting (to me) because the parties (naturally) try to appeal to as many voters as possible and the interests and priorities of 26 and 50 year olds are likely to be very different.

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