Today I’m shipping several updates to Alignvote. These new features help voters share their rankings with others.
This release also provides summarized Alignvote log data to participating candidates. Alignvote does not collect or store any personally identifiable information — this is just aggregated data on the user sessions as input by voters, including what issues and stances are most often input to the system, how strongly people feel about different issues, and how well the candidate is scoring.
New feature summary:
- Improved Candidate Dashboard
- Candidates can now list Endorsements, Funds raised or momentum, and provide a Personal Statement. These new text fields show up, if provided, in the candidate profile box.
- Candidates can see analytics about what issues and stances are most popular from the logs
- For voters, each ranking session is now shareable via a unique Permalink, allowing it to be bookmarked, blogged-about, saved for later, linked-to, or otherwise shared on social media
Note: The phrase “Participating Candidates” simply means those candidates who have completed the Alignvote Questionnaire.
There are no fees associated with Alignvote, nor are any elaborations required. We simply want candidates to complete the survey, which unlocks these extra features. That’s because we feel it’s good for voters to know where candidates stand; you can always provide elaborations on those stances.
(Special shout-out to CM Kshama Sawant of D3, who provided clear elaborations on every single issue.)
Improved Candidate Dashboard
Enhanced Candidate Profiles
Candidates, you can now add Endorsements, Funds Raised and a Personal Statement to your profile. Each of these are optional. Candidates, it is up to your campaign to keep these as up-to-date as you’d like; these fields will be indicated as “candidate-provided” information.
They’re available only to participating candidates; you have to have completed the Questionnaire for voters. These will be shown on every ranking view, and may further help voters determine which candidates are strongest and/or more “viable” for their vote.
Analytics from Logs
Participating Candidates can now see summaries of how they’re ranking, as well as what’s important to voters, in aggregate, via their dashboard.
We make it VERY clear that these are simply logs of user sessions and are not a scientific poll.
With that said, information on voter sentiment might be directionally useful to a campaign, so we provide it transparently to all Participating Candidates:
Permalink Makes Each Unique Voter Ranking Session Shareable
Voters now get a Permalink with every ranking result set. You can share this Permalink on social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Nextdoor, Email, etc.), or simply save it for voting day. The Permalink is provided right at the top of the results page:
Alignvote in the News
I joined Ross Reynolds of KUOW 94.9FM to discuss Alignvote earlier this week. Listen to the full 15 minute segment here, about halfway down the page:
A few weeks back I added a Fairness and Equitable Treatment of Candidates section to the About page. Here it is in full:
Fairness and Equitable Treatment of Candidates
We commit to offering candidates an equitable platform. That includes, but is not limited to:
- The similarity-score calculation is the same for all candidates.
- The only weighting which is applied in the similarity score is the one the voter sets around the importance level of the issue to them.
- There is no candidate weighting or skew applied to the similarity score or ranking.
- All candidates have full and equal access to their own questionnaire dashboard, where they can confirm their stances, and elaborate as they wish.
- All registered and eligible candidates have been invited to the dashboard (on the same day), some repeatedly nudged to access it.
- Best efforts are made to notify all candidates of new features or changes at or near the same time, certainly the same day.
- No filtering-out or in is performed of what any candidate says.
- There is no fee charged to any candidate to participate.
- No personal preference of anyone involved on the Alignvote team will influence the similarity ranking calculation.
- Candidate elaborations on issues are shuffled, so that over time no one candidate’s answer gets first or last billing.
- Alignvote makes no changes to stances once the candidate submits their stances.
- No editing is done to what any candidate writes. Voters see what they write immediately when they update it.
- All candidates have been asked to optionally submit a good and fair question for consideration in a future round.
- All candidates can and should confirm that they rank #1 for any voter test where they pretend to be a voter who has precisely the same stances, on any browser, anywhere, any time.
As always, we invite candidates and campaigns to test any and all of the above, and provide any reproducible results or videos if they spot favoritism or skew in the results. Any concern about the questions themselves should be focused on what the next round of questions should include, or questions that are on the minds of voters, with a complete and reasonable set of options. All candidates have been invited to officially submit one consideration in the next round.
Election Day is August 6th!
Steve’s an entrepreneur and software leader. Steve’s worked on consumer apps, online travel, games, relational databases, management consulting and telecom. He launched Alignvote in 2019, which helped Seattle voters find their best-match political candidates by indexing their existing on-the-record stances, matching them with voter’s own answers to those exact same questions. Alignvote also offered politicians the chance to elaborate on those views. Alignvote is on hiatus for now, but might return in a future election.
Politically, Steve is an independent, and has not registered for any political party. He believes in outcome-based transparent governance; he is a moderate who believes that progressive approaches can be great if truly outcome-focused and evidence-driven, but also that unaccountable spending is a recipe for corruption and little progress. He believes that Seattle’s municipal government must work well for all 724,000+ Seattleites.
Steve’s founded multiple companies. In the early 2000’s, he founded BigOven, the first recipe app for iPhone, with more than 15 million downloads, which was purchased in 2018. Steve served as Chairman of Escapia Inc., the leading SaaS solution for the US vacation rental industry, sold to Homeaway, now part of Expedia. In 1997, Steve was cofounder, President, CEO and Chairman of VacationSpot, a pioneer in the online reservation of vacation rentals, bought by Expedia in January 2000. At Expedia, Steve was Vice President of Vacation Packages, leading the vacation package and destination services teams, helping to create two patents on the first-ever dynamic vacation packaging system on the Internet, which now represents billions in annual transactions for Expedia.
He has keynoted on several occasions at the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA), and taught a graduate level course on the strategic management of innovation at the University of Washington Foster Business School in Seattle, Washington.
Steve worked for Microsoft from 1991 to 1997 in a variety of senior marketing and executive positions, and led the creation of the internet games group, helping develop several products and patents related to online multiplayer gaming. He helped launch Microsoft Access and was involved in the acquisition of Fox Software by Microsoft in 1993. He’s worked for IBM, Booz-Allen Hamilton and Bell Communications Research.
He holds an MS in Computer Science from Stanford University in Symbolic and Heuristic Computation (AI), an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was named a George F. Baker Scholar (awarded to top 5% of graduating class), and a dual BS in Applied Mathematics / Computer Science and Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with University Honors. Steve volunteers when time allows with Habitat for Humanity, University District Food Bank, YMCA Seattle, Technology Access Foundation (TAF) and other organizations in Seattle.