We're working on creating an voting app for Star Voting (SRV)!
Startup Weekend Social Impact was an amazing opportunity and couldn't have gone better!
The event started off Friday with speeches and guidance from the startup community and then quickly progressed to the pitches. Each presenter got just 60 seconds to talk about what problem they were trying to solve, what their solution entailed and how to turn that into a viable business plan.
I pitched about our broken elections system and how Star Voting has the potential to basically solve vote splitting/the spoiler effect, strategic/dishonest voting, and the 2 party monopoly. (Star Voting=Score Runoff Voting=SRV.) I proposed our idea of creating an elections app and website that anyone can use to run their own elections or decision making process. The app would start off with a few questions to help the person running the election determine what kind of voting system they need: single winner or multi winner, 2 viable candidates, or more. As people click through the welcome page they get a user friendly platform that gets straight to the meat and potatoes, but at the same time offers small snippets of key information, for example that plurality voting only gives reliable outcomes if there are only 2 viable candidates. Users would have everything they need to run an election for student government, for private sector decision making or promotions or for NGOs and non-profits or any other election you could think of. Voters could vote online with their phones, laptops, or with paper ballots.
Our plan is to offer a user friendly and free election service that gives users good representative outcomes and an educational experience in the process. More information would be offered and available for all voters and elections officials too. Our first goal would be to get Star Voting (SRV) our there and being used by potential voters so that when this goes to the ballot, it will have familiarity and name recognition. Hopefully a good percentage of users would go away understanding why we need Star Voting!
There would also be a "premium" option available that users would pay extra for. This would offer some extra functions such as analytics, a highly secure option, automatic auditing of close results, and even an option to create a quiz that voters would need to pass before voting for decisions that require an educated electorate. Revenue from the app would go to cover expenses and then generate funding that would go back to the Equal Vote non-profit to be used on getting ballot measures passed! If we can generate funding by offering something rather than just asking for help that would be AMAZING!!!
The pitch was a success! Audience members were each given three post-it notes to vote on proposals and ours was selected to recruit a team. We ended up with a team of 8 audience members who wanted to work with us; programmers, business management folks, creatives, and government oriented folks. Our team was amazing and worked tirelessly over the next 20 hours creating a template for the website, a business plan overview, and a presentation to bring back to the Startup Weekend Judges at the end of the event.
If you'd like to get involved in bringing this idea to fruition please let me know! We're going to make it happen and get Star Voting to bring real democracy to the world ASAP.