What is VoteVancouver.org and Why It’s Important

Sometime in April or May of this year, the two people who would later become the core team of VoteVancouver were sitting around with little to do. Those people were Anne and myself (I’m Laef).

At that point we came up with an idea and though VoteVancouver has changed a lot since then, it’s still centered around that one idea. It was to create a polling website for our local riding of Burnaby North-Seymour for the next federal election, #elxn42.

Almost as soon as we came up with the idea, we changed it. One riding wasn’t ambitious enough. We’d do more. We’d do all of the Vancouver area, all 25 (though we didn’t know the number at the time) ridings of it.

Reason took over at that point. We wouldn’t do all of Canada or even all of BC. We didn’t know exactly how many ridings were in the province but we knew it would be too much for us to handle. Also at that point we realized that VoteVancouver had alliteration in it but VoteBC did not.

I’m a longtime programmer. I’ve created a variety of projects, never released, that I hoped would help to change the world. They range from social networks to search engines to file upload sites. I had created so many that some of my newer projects started going into a subfolder called “things” which, probably, will someday have a subfolder of it’s own called “other things.”

I set to work on the code for the project. Programming is quite easy and surprisingly addictive. We talked about how we could do stuff and how we would spread the website. I got user login to work, the signup (I do everything out of order) then the actual voting. I wrote some copy for the homepage which we later deleted (a purge made only days before the release).

After awhile (a bit too long of awhile considering how pressing the concern now is) we started to think how we could spread the website. We were all for putting signs up around the neighbourhood with catchy phrases like “Politics is boring, so do it anyway.” We very quickly got rid of this idea.

That problem is still a big one today. We’ve got a few users, most of them Green or Libertarian candidates. Obviously “a few” is not enough. For a polling website to work, we need thousands of users (I think I once calculated it to be about 2.5k).

That’s where you come in. There’s lots more in our story but all of it pales in comparison to the part you’ll play. See, you can sign up yourself, easy and quick. It takes less than a minute and once you’re done you can vote for a candidate in your riding. After that, you don’t have to do anything at all (except if your choice changes in which case you can come back to vote again). We’ll use your vote to generate polling statistics for your riding and you’ll have a nice warm feeling knowing that you’ve contributed to the democratic process and helped make our dreams come true.

You can help out even more though. You can share our story with your friends, or you can just tell your friends and followers about us and get them to sign up too. We’re on Twitter (of course) as @voteyvr and we’re working on creating a social media presence elsewhere as well. Wherever we are and wherever you are, you can spread the word and you’ll have not only made one signup happen; you’ll have made dozens (or, dare we say it, hundreds).

So please, if you’re in the MetroVancouver area, take a moment of your time to sign up at votevancouver.org/signup. Then you can tell all your friends about the good you’ve done.

Oh, and one more thing (and this is the most important thing). Remember to vote on election day. You too can change the world.