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Exeter based company Tickbox, who were runners-up in the Business West Born Global competition, have used their prize money and support from the University of Exeter’s Innovation Centre to take their voting comparison platform to international heights.
Tickbox, formed by University of Exeter history student Matt Morley in 2013, helps voters easily assess candidates and their policies during elections. The Tickbox General Election website, launched today, has details of every party and every candidate standing for election and will help thousands of people be better informed when they cast their vote on May 7.
The platform is not just for the general election it can be adapted for any democratically elected model and has already been used for the 2014 Scottish referendum, the European elections and by universities across the country for student union elections.
During the May 2014 European elections more than 40,000 people used Tickbox within 36 hours of the site launching. The team concluded that when provided with information on issues that matter to them, people will engage with politics, explained Tickbox founder Matt Morley.
The tremendous success of Tickbox in the run up to the EU election began to get the site noticed. Alistair Campbell, former Director of Communication and Strategy at no. 10 said: “TickBox is an excellent tool to help the digital generation understand, and choose, the policies that will shape their future. Because they are the future and they are also the generation to save political debate and progress in the UK.”
”Although young people are in the main passionate about political issues, too many of them are turned off by traditional party politics and also the mainstream media’s relentless negativity about politics.
Following on from their success in the EU elections the team have recorded the Tickbox concept as registered trademarks in the UK and Europe and are seeking approval in India. The team are currently in discussion with government officials in Bangalore about the Indian elections in 2017. They aim to be the go-to site for accessible information on every democratically elected model in the world.
Tickbox offers an independent perspective – For the 2015 general election the platform will feature the manifestos of all major and independent political parties from every constituency. It will allow users not only to compare one party’s politics with another, but people will also be able to ask politicians specific questions anonymously. By making politics clear and accessible they also hope to engage those groups traditionally marginalised from politics – such as – women and under 25s.
According to a report published by the Commission on Digital Democracy, online voting should be available to all voters from 2020. The Tickbox platform is ready for this five years early and is driven by a desire to empower individuals to make decisions that affect their quality of life.
Matt Morley, Tickbox Founder and CEO said: “By all means, keep the traditional system for those that prefer voting in person – and I imagine that’s still a significant number of the population – but by failing to adapt and modernise, our Government is missing out on a huge number of voices, and therefore does not represent a true democracy.”
The 2015 General Election could see use of the Tickbox platform reaching new heights.
Mr Morley said: “A successful general election for Tickbox is hundreds of thousands of users on the Tickbox platform engaging on issues that matter to them.”
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