Where Do Politicians Stand on Issues like Abortion, Climate Change, and Gun Control? — A Look Into Voterly’s Latest Feature

Keani Vierra
Oct 5 · 4 min read
Voterly’s latest “Issues” feature displayed on a politician’s profile.

It’s easy to assume the best of your party’s political leaders… to assume that a politician of your same party must have your same values. It’s these assumptions that make it so easy to vote down party lines in an election, without further researching a candidate. Voterly’s newest feature does the research for you, so you can quickly find the truth of a candidate’s stances, and vote based upon that.

Aimed at encouraging users to vote based on alignment of values rather than party affiliation, Voterly’s Issues feature informs you of a politician’s stance on hot topics.

Issues Feature Explained

With Voterly’s new Issues feature, you can go on a politician’s profile and see where they stand on up to 30 different issues. Clicking on an issue will reveal a scale with labels for either side of the argument. For example, on the issue of Abortion, one end of the spectrum is labeled “Abortion Rights” while the other side is labeled “Abortion Restriction.” The politician will be placed somewhere along the scale to display where they stand on the issue.

The following issues are currently live on Voterly.

  • Abortion
  • Campaign Finance
  • Climate Change
  • Contraception
  • Criminal Justice
  • Drug Policy
  • Foreign Policy
  • Free Trade
  • Gun Rights
  • Health Care
  • Housing Assistance
  • Immigration
  • Labor Unions
  • LGBTQ Rights
  • Medicare
  • Military Intervention
  • National Debt
  • Net Neutrality
  • Policing
  • Public Education
  • Racial Justice
  • Regulation
  • Religious Liberty
  • Social Security
  • Student Debt
  • Taxes
  • Voting Rights
  • Welfare

Stance Calculation

So how does Voterly determine a politician’s rating on each issue?

Each issue has a set of interest groups representing one side of the argument or the other. For example, on the issue of Gun Rights, interest groups for Gun Rights include:

  • National Rifle Association (NRA)
  • Gun Owners of America
  • National Shooting Sports Foundation
  • Eagle Forum.

Interest groups for Gun Control include:

  • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Each of these groups’ missions is to advocate for their cause at both local and federal levels. With their mission in mind, these interest groups release annual ratings of politicians, essentially grading the politicians on how well they further their cause. Keeping the example of Gun Rights, the NRA may rate someone like Representative Jim Jordan highly because he actively votes against gun control legislation in the House of Representatives.

Voterly is able to collect these ratings to then display them as transparently as possible. If the politician is rated to be pro-gun rights, the first scale you will see is one that displays the average ratings from pro-gun rights interest groups. The second scale the user will see is the average ratings from pro-gun control groups. Voterly will then average those two scores to create an all-encompassing rating for that politician. The user is able to dive deeper if they choose, looking at each, individual interest group’s rating of that politician.

The calculations may sound complicated, but that is why Voterly has come up with a consumable and efficient display. Start exploring issues by searching for politicians here!

What’s Next for the Issues Feature?

This is only the beginning of Voterly’s latest feature. We plan to expand this tool so that it is even more interactive and informative.

Eventually, Voterly will not only calculate a politician’s position on an issue, but also your position as the voter! After selecting issues that are most important to you, and then answering in-depth questions about each one, Voterly will be able to compare your stance against a politician’s. This rating will display next to that of any politician, so that you can visually see how aligned you both are on issues that matter most to you.

It is Voterly’s vision to help modern-day Americans make quick and informed voting decisions while leveraging technology to do so. We hope you’ll follow along as we continue to create the insightful, interactive political database that 21st-century politics requires. To stay up to date on our Issues feature and much more, follow us on Medium and subscribe to our email newsletter!

Voterly

Discover politicians who align with your values.

Voterly

Voterly is a personalized civic engagement platform that empowers you to vote with confidence by providing nonpartisan fact-based information on elected officials, key political issues, state voting information, and more.

Keani Vierra

Written by

Political Data Coordinator at Voterly

Voterly

Voterly is a personalized civic engagement platform that empowers you to vote with confidence by providing nonpartisan fact-based information on elected officials, key political issues, state voting information, and more.