Voting app developed in Wales launched ahead of Senedd election
In the week before the Senedd election a new voting app, which is believed to be the first ever to be developed in Wales, has been launched.
The Vote for Values application drawn on the priorities of over 30 Welsh civil society networks to help voters identify which political party best matches their values ahead of polling day on 6 May.
It has been developed by WEAll Cymru, the Welsh chapter of the global Wellbeing Economy Alliance, which works towards an economy that promotes human and ecological wellbeing.
“The Covid Pandemic has been a traumatic experience for all of us” explained Duncan Fisher, co-convenor of WEAll Cymru.
“However it is clear from surveys all over the world that people want something better than what we had before; they want economy that looks after us as people better and protects our planet”.
To find out what that economy might look like WEAll Cymru surveyed the networks of Welsh organisations which make up its membership.
They include business and farming organisations, women’s and youth groups, environmental and community organisations, movements representing ethnic minorities and as well as other groups.
These organisations fed back what was important to them ahead of the election, expressed as values not specific policies, which have been matched against the manifestos of the different political parties.
“There are two exciting new aspects to this App”, said Dave Floyd, its designer.
“Firstly, it’s based around the issues Welsh voters have prioritised, not what the political parties are saying, and secondly it’s been developed from the bottom up, effectively crowd sourced from what groups of Welsh voters are saying.
“Too often when Welsh voters are given access to apps of this type they are based on flimsy outside knowledge of Welsh politics – this is very different.
“We also know that looking at the values of voters is a better guide to their behaviour than support for individual policies, which is why we think this will be so helpful: it can show which parties are on their wavelength, though some people may be surprised at the results they get!”
The app works by giving its users a choice of the key values they wish to prioritise, ranging from supporting small businesses to improving mental health, strengthening transport links and promoting use of the Welsh language.
The commercial cost of the app was estimated to be between £20,000 – £25,000. Instead Floyd, drawing on pro bono support from his team in Swansea and with assistance from colleagues in USA, Argentina and England produced it for £45.
They are organised under the Wellbeing Goals of the Future Generations Act, and this is to make a clear link to the Welsh law which is supposed to underpin all Welsh Government policy.
Voters using the app are then given a choice of issues they wish to prioritise under the banners of the economy, environment, health, equalities, community, culture and international affairs.
They then choose the statements written by Welsh civil society organisations under each heading which most chime with their values and will be told which party is the best match for them.
For Ellie Sanders, one of Wales’ Youth Climate Ambassadors and active in WEAll Cymru, it has been a chance to make sure that tackling climate change is strongly reflected as a value in the app:
“No one doubts that a post Covid recovery has to be Green, and the way this App has been developed ensures that climate change, such a critical issue for so many young people, is as high up this agenda as it needs to be for my generation.”
Vote for Values can be found at WEAll Cymru https://voteyourvalues.wales/