Electoral compass developed in cooperation with Estonians helps Americans elect president
On 9 November, the electoral compass Societly.com was launched in the USA for the presidential elections. The electoral compass has been developed for the American presidential elections in cooperation with partners from Europe and the USA.
One of the creators of the compass is Research Fellow at the UT Institute of Government and Politics Dr Kristjan Vassil who led the architecture and development of the compass. “Unlike previous compasses, Societly is technologically more flexible which enables to easily scale the compass for different elections in different countries and languages,” described Vassil.
According to Vassil, developing previous electoral compasses for Estonian and European elections was essential for creating Societly.com: “The supporting environment of the University of Tartu in transferring the knowledge from research projects to societal applications is also significant.”
Introducing the compass to one of the largest functioning democracies of the world requires an effective international team. The project included researchers from universities on both sides of the Atlantic, incl. the University of California, Irvine, Stanford University, New York University, the European University Institute in Italy and the University of Tartu. Executive management of Societly is coordinated in Los Angeles, USA. The technical development of the project is done in Tartu. The development partner of the compass is the Estonian technological development enterprise Voog.
The compass comprises 20 claims relevant in the American political scene and enables people to see which of the 22 political candidates aligns best with their views. The compass is in English and Spanish and intended for American voters.
As of 9 November, Societly.com is also available in the online environment of one of the major national media channels in the USA—Fox News. Media partnership agreements with other national media channels take effect in the near future.
Electoral compasses have been used in Estonia since 2009 for local, national and European level elections. Around 10 percent of the Estonian electorate has used the compasses developed in cooperation of the University of Tartu and the Estonian Public Broadcasting. The compasses are increasingly popular in European countries and in countries such as Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, up to a quarter of the electorate uses the compasses in the election period.
Additional information: Kristjan Vassil, Research Fellow at UT Institute of Government and Politics, creator of the electoral compass, tel. 5684 4856, e–mail: kristjan.vassil [ät] ut.ee.