ElectNext, a graduate from DreamIt Ventures’ Fall 2011 class, is launching out of beta today to match voters with the political candidates that best reflect their values. The site, which likes to describe itself as an “eHarmony for voters,” offers a familiar concept, thanks to the dozens of politically themed quizzes that attempt to suss out what political party best fits your personal interests and beliefs.
But ElectNext takes the political quiz to the next level by actually matching up your beliefs with those from the actual candidates in the current election.
To get started, you have to first sign up for the site, or connect using your Facebook or Twitter accounts.
Instead of beginning with a quiz, you’re sent to a page where you can organize and rank the issues that are important to you, like immigration, healthcare, abortion, gun control, education, gay rights, the economy, energy, the environment, foreign policy, national security and taxes. Ranking is easy to do – you just click on the issue’s name and it appears on a list on the right side of the page.
The quiz then follows, requiring you to answer at least 6 questions in order to get candidate suggestions. Of course, the more questions you answer, the better the results.
The only problem with the quiz is that it assumes you have an ongoing knowledge of current politics, events, military actions, treaties and the like, as the included “learn more” links didn’t provide any additional information on the topic. This is because the “learn more” section relies on crowd-sourcing, asking ElectNext users to submit the “Pros” and “Cons” on each issue.
As the service is just now launching, all the sections I came across in tests were still blank. It would have been nice if the founders had at least seeded some of these questions with details prior to launch, since – let’s face it – the people who don’t know who to vote for are probably the same ones who need a little help understanding the issues, too.
Upon completing the quiz, you’re shown which federal candidates match your views and, if you enter your zip code, you’re also shown the senators and U.S. representatives that are your best picks. For more details on the results, you can click the “see why” button beneath each candidate to learn more about why that candidate is being recommended.
Results can be shared via Facebook, Twitter and email, too.
The candidate matches in my tests seemed to be fairly accurate, although I didn’t really need a website to tell me which way I was going to vote – I already knew. For the “on the fence” voter, though, something like this may help them make their final choice, especially given the site’s ease-of-use.
ElectNext was founded by Penn Wharton and graduate students Keya Dannenbaum and Paul Jungwirth, who sourced the questions from a bipartisan group of experts, including Ivy League professors from Harvard, Penn and Princeton. The service is live now, but will be officially celebrating its launch on Tuesday as a featured presenter at Tedx Philly, followed by a launch party at National Mechanics in Old City, Philadelphia at 8 PM tomorrow night.