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

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

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read