Later this month, a new user of our API and a social networking site based around the US political system will be released. It is called Vote iQ and will be primarily focused on Voters. Politicians and NGOs will also be able to have a presence on this site. 'We want to give them the political platform they need to be able to make sound decisions in politics," said Rick Shenkman, VP of Media and Partnerships.
Vote iQ will primarily make money by selling special presences and tools to interact with their supporters and other voters to politicians and NGOs. That is not to say that voters would be ignored. Their primary focus is on the voters. 'Anything we say or do will be subject to the review of the crowd. They will get to vote every day by their actions and comments on the decisions we make as a company," said Shenkman.
Shenkman sees Vote iQ succeeding against other social networking sites like Facebook because it was designed specifically for politics. Facebook, on the other hand is mainly for 'involving friends from grade school, high school and work as well as your grandmother and in-laws," and 'a genuinely robust discussion of politics is all but impossible." Users will be able to form groups(gated or not), post and sign petitions, and debate the various issues and topics of the day.
One special feature that Vote iQ will have is a way for voters to find out which candidates they are most aligned with politically. A user will be able to fill out 12 questions which the system will use to show those candidates most aligned with you.
On a related note, Project Vote Smart will be releasing a similar tool this July that covers all congressional races. We will base the alignments on the data within our database.
Vote iQ is in the process of internal testing as of this writing and expect to open up their site for beta testing in the coming weeks. Full release is expected sometime this month.
It appears that their site will be built upon the LAMP stack(Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) but Shenkman was not able to provide the details of their setup. They will be pulling data from KnowWho, Center for Responsive Politics, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Open Congress, GovTrack, and of course, Project Vote Smart. Vote iQ is using the special interest group ratings from the Project Vote Smart API.
Project Vote Smart's API provides the base data that many sites like Vote iQ use to build their solutions. If you would like to help us continue to freely provide this important data to voters and other organizations, please consider becoming a member.
23 June 2010
Written by Mike Shultz
Related tags: blog, social-media, special-interest-group-ratings, Vote-iQ