Vote Mate is a website and app created by Burnaby teen. (Black Press Media)

B.C. teen creates app to help voters know the issues ahead of Election Day

Laef Kucheran initially created the app when he was just 14

A soon-to-be first-time voter is hoping to arm Canadians with a little more information come Oct. 21.

Laef Kucheran, who lives in Burnaby, will be voting in his first election in a couple of weeks, but the 18-year-old has been preparing for this day for a very long time.

Four years ago, he created Votemate.org, an app and website that gathers candidate lists and party platforms from across Canada all in one place.

One tool lets you compare platforms on a given issue and stances as you go. The app will tally up which party you agree with most.

“I was intrigued about democracy, about how people are informed or not informed,” Kucheran told Black Press Media by phone Tuesday. “What you know, what you don’t know and how that affects your willingness to do something.”

What he found was that many people were interested in issues like housing, climate change or LGBTQ2+ rights, but not the finer details of electing people to public office.

“They were interested in what you accomplish using democracy, but they weren’t interested in the actual running ballot,” he said.

Kucheran said a lot of information is available in the media and on political parties’ websites, but most people don’t have the time, or desire, to go through all of that.

He said many of his peers are interested in politics as well and wish they could vote.

“I talk with a 16-year-old who’ll say, ‘I’m really interested in the government’s position on climate change, or LGBTQ rights… but I still don’t know all the parties.’”

When those teens get to voting age, the interest in politics remains – as does the lack of clarity.

“All of a sudden, they have a lot of other stuff to deal with. They have to look for jobs, look at post-secondary and they also no longer have the time.”

Although he had younger people in mind when he created the app, he says many of his users are in their 40s, 50s and beyond.

“In the end, it’s not something that’s about the technology, it’s about something that’s easily accessible.”

Kucheran, who has operated the website through two previous elections, said this is the first time he’s working with riding candidates to add their information to the database.

“I think it’s 90 per cent of people who vote on the party, not the candidate,” he said. “Yet, it’s the candidate in the end who’s going to represent you as an MP in Ottawa.”

READ MORE: Trudeau targeted in English leaders’ debate

READ MORE: Trudeau campaigns up north as Scheer and Singh make for Toronto after debate


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fewer birds tallied in Nanaimo’s recent winter count

1,550 fewer fowl counted than previous year, but there were a few unusual sightings

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Snow-covered sidewalks are a hazard

City refuses to change its current operational practices, says letter writer

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Schools should not have been closed Thursday

Our children have missed a day of school because of poor decision-making, says letter writer

Nanaimo mom will celebrate 40th in style after $500,000 lotto win

Crystal Giesbrecht matches all four numbers on BC/49 Extra

Suspect pulls knife on staff at Nanaimo 7-Eleven

Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect who allegedly took items then produced knife when staff approached

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Nanaimo council issues permit for mixed-use building on Terminal Avenue

29-unit residential building and café restaurant planned at 930 Terminal Ave.

Nanaimo RCMP arrest man who allegedly pushed clerk to floor during armed robbery

Chase Peter Goodale scheduled to appear in court today, Jan. 20

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Most Read