What need are we trying to solve?
While there is often an eye on national politics, especially now in our polarized political spheres, what frequently goes under the radar is the role that local politicians and governments play in creating change in communities. Of the politicians in the United States, 96% operate in local level positions; yet only 27% of eligible voters nationwide vote in their municipal elections. When a sample of local non-voters were asked why they did not vote in their most recent municipal election, an astounding 75% of constituents remarked that they “did not have enough information about the candidates” (Source: Knight Foundation). Currently, there is no solution that makes local campaign information accessible and offers ways to get involved. In order to increase local voter participation, there is a clear need for a platform that focuses exclusively on connecting constituents with their local elections. Candivote is that platform.
What is Candivote?
Candivote is a comprehensive engagement platform for local politics. We offer a dashboard which curates information on local candidates and elections to provide users with a single source of trusted information. Details on the dashboard include the names, biographical information, policies of candidates, various social media feeds for each campaign, individual polling locations, and dates of elections. Our engagement services include the ability to message candidates directly, participate in online forums for local voters, and donate to candidates’ campaigns. Thus, our dashboard enables people to learn everything they need about local candidates on a single platform. As noted above, one of the biggest hindrances to local turnout is the lack of widespread knowledge, which is exacerbated by scattered and meager data on these elections. Candivote addresses this by compiling data and displaying it in one place, helping voters make an educated choice on the ballot.
What about our team?
Our team currently has four members, Arvind Sridhar Brown ‘24, Nicholas Masi Brown ‘24, Shivesh Mehrotra Yale ‘24, and Lucien Gaitskell MIT ‘25. We are all passionate about ensuring that voters are fully educated and understand the forces which create change in their communities. Despite all having attended politically active high schools, we agreed that we knew relatively little about our local politicians, the role local government has in a community, and the types of decisions under the jurisdiction of local government. Although we were continually taught about the importance of citizen political participation throughout history, it was unclear how to actually get involved locally. Together we decided to found Candivote with the final goal of creating change from the ground up and helping others like us who want to be more involved within their communities.
Where did our inspiration come from?
In a country where change is being demanded by all voters and citizens, Candivote is designed to be the premier step to initiating change starting from the ground up. Candivote is designed not only to look sleek and modern but also to use the technology at our disposal to create an intuitive and effective voter and politician experience. The Candivote platform can be used in any community, independent of other communities, allowing for the concerns of each individual voter to be addressed by their local government. In turn, we hope Candivote will be used as a tool for collective change and for democracy. Our inspiration to create Candivote came from wanting to be more involved in creating local change as well as modernizing current voting and campaign information systems for the next generation of voters.