WUOMFM

Making politics accessible to a younger generation

Oct 29, 2015

Less than 20% of those between 18 and 29 years voted in the 2014 election.
Credit Lars Plougmann

Millennials are the largest generation in America, making up an entire third of the population.

They’re also the least likely to vote.

A report from Tufts University says that less than 20% of people age 18 to 29 voted in the 2014 election.

Andrew Koehlinger wants to do something about that. He’s the project director for VoteSpotter, an app that seeks to get younger voters engaged in the politics.

“VoteSpotter in its simplest form is simply a nonpartisan tool that empowers citizens to get involved in the political process in a new way, in a way that they couldn’t have done it before, by just simply tapping a few times on their mobile phone,” Koehlinger says.

He explains that the app asks users for their address and tells them who their legislators are.

“That’s step one, is simply getting people to understand who is representing them,” he says.

Koehlinger tells us the app then sends users “timely notifications and simple, concise bill summaries” that explain how their representatives are voting.

Users can “thumbs up or thumbs down” their legislators’ actions, and even call or email their representatives directly from within the app.

Koehlinger tells us that VoteSpotter is an attempt to revolutionize political engagement the same way companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Uber have transformed shopping, social interaction, and transportation.

“It just seems only natural that we should try and converge technology and politics to make it a lot easier for people to engage in the public policy process,” he says.