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

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read