European election - website will help voters feel more informed

Voters across Europe will be able to see how their opinions compare to those of political parties, with the launch of a new website called EUVOX 2014, a pan-European project which involves Swansea University researchers.

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Voters across Europe will be able to see how their opinions compare to those of political parties, with the launch of a new website called EUVOX 2014, a pan-European project which involves Swansea University researchers.

Academics from all 28 EU countries are working on the project.  Dr Matt Wall, of Swansea’s Department of Political and Cultural Studies, is responsible for the English and Welsh face of the site.

Visit the EUVOX 2014 website and see how your views compare to political parties' 

Flags - Matt Wall story

Doctor Matt Wall said:

'The aim of the project is not to ‘tell’ people how to vote, but to encourage them to engage with political issues. The site works by getting participants to answer a series of questions. It then suggests which party a person’s views are most closely aligned to.

It could be a starting point from which people decide to do some research themselves, but the idea is that the information will help them to make more informed choices.'

The project aims to increase the confidence of voters, which could in turn lead to more people taking part in elections.

For many people, not voting may represent a valid protest against the legitimacy of the system of ‘electoral democracy’.

But, as Churchill famously argued, democracy is the worst system there is, apart from all the others that have been tried. And, in a democracy, voting is how you can express your opinions and influence the direction of public policy.

Certainly, nobody should feel too ill-informed or lack the confidence to cast a vote, and the website seeks to simplify the process of gathering information on where the parties stand on the key issues. By using it, people should feel more confident to cast their vote.”

Project members were hoping for a good response, particularly from younger people and those who don’t usually vote.  This type of system, known as a Voter Advice Application site, has been available since the mid-1990s, and in some countries like the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden they are regularly consulted by large portions of the electorate during national election campaigns.

Dr Wall added:

'I worked on a similar site in Ireland for the previous European Parliament election in 2009 – it received over a million visits across the continent during that campaign.

 We want as many people as possible to visit the EUVOX 2014 site.  In the Netherlands about 40% of the population reported visiting a site like this during the 2011 election campaign, so those kind of figures are attainable.'

Visit the EUVOX 2014 site