Can't decide how you're going to vote for the upcoming election? Well Smartvote may be just the thing you need.
How will you decide who to vote for come General Election time? Perhaps you’re planning to use the trusted strategy of voting for the person who dropped the most amount of flyers in your door or maybe you’ll simply close your eyes in the polling booth, wave your pen around and vote for whoever it lands on, Grand National Style.
 
Well, neither has to be the case thanks to a new app Smartvote, dubbed the Tinder of Politics. As students, many of us have had our fun on the dating app and whether or not you yourself are a Tinderella who found her Prince Charming in one foul swipe right, it is undeniable how quick and easy the app is to use. 
 
So it is quite appropriate that an app has been developed for students to use those Tinder skills in other instances – such as voting this spring.
 
So how does this all work? The Smartvote user simply types in their street or town and Smartvote will tell them their constituency and their candidates.  
 
 
Smartvote will then ask all political candidates their opinion on 30 topical issues.  The user then gives their opinion on the same issues. The app will soon match the Smartvoter with the candidates who best represent their views.
 
The Union of Students in Ireland has teamed up with the app to ensure all the pressing concerns of us students are highlighted and included in the questions put to the political candidates.
 
“The Union of Students in Ireland is extremely excited to be working with Smartvote,” said Kevin Donoghue, USI President.
 
He believes it will be highly beneficial come election time.
 
“It will revolutionise the General Election and the voting process,” he said.
 
“It’s quick, simple, easy-to-use and will educate the public on who their political candidates are, what they stand for and why they’re worthy of their vote.”
 
The Smartvote app is similar to apps used by young voters in Europe. Stemwijzer in Holland is used by 80% of 18-25 year olds when deciding which way to vote.
 
Smartvote was the brainchild of UCD student Keith Moore and his app was used during UCD student elections last March.
 
For Keith, there was no one place he could go to easily compare the 23 candidates in his constituency during the last local elections.
 
“For the first time in my life I didn't vote,” he said. “I thought to myself: ‘There has to be a better way to make an informed voting decision than posters and flyers’.”
 
Over 2,000 UCD students used the app in March, with 83 per cent of those who gave feedback on it saying they’d use it again for the General Election – something NUI Galway students will hopefully do too.
 
Phelim Kelly, President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union feels encouraged by the number of new voters registered in the past year and believes Galwegian students will support the new app.
 
“Smartvote will enable students to really inform themselves before going to the polling station for the general elections,” he commented.
 
“With the 4,000 or so new voters from last year coupled with the 2,000+ voters we registered this year, we firmly believe that the student vote will have a massive impact on the general elections this year. Students are ready to #MakeASmartVote.”