Do we need another social network, let alone one just for U.S. politics?
Enter Vote iQ, which bills itself as the first social networking site that enables interaction between the electorate and the elected.
With bipartisan backing from charter advisory board members—Democrat fundraiser James Carville and Republican pollster Frank Luntz—it’s being touted as one-stop shopping for discovery of any candidate’s stand on any issue.
The aim – to reverse the entrenched political system where politicians control the dialogue – and place it firmly in the hands of the voting public.
“Vote iQ will revolutionize the relationship between voters and their elected leaders,” says CEO and founder Jim Tisch. “Voters want a constant dialogue with their political leaders, and Vote iQ provides just that opportunity.”
The site profiles thousands of politicians, including their voting records and position statements. More than just a database, it will also host groups and discussions and provide online tools and resources to aid voters in feedback, commentary, and protest. Candidates can even use Vote iQ for their campaign website.
Geared particularly to younger ‘digital natives,’ a Foursquare-like feature encourages participation in local events using a points and awards system. Inherent in the mission is to rebrand politics for disillusioned voters, with a recent study showing roughly 85% of Americans not trusting government leaders.
Vote iQ’s VP Rick Shenkman, best-selling author of Just How Stupid Are We, comments, "It makes civic engagement fun, interactive, and meaningful. Vote iQ educates the public about civic issues in a nonpartisan way and then gives them the tools to take charge of our democracy.”
As for the involvement of Washington heavyweights Carville and Luntz, Shenkman says, “With them on board, people will know that Vote iQ can be trusted to take a strictly neutral position on issues. Trust is critical to our success. Voters need to know we don't have our thumb on the scale.”
One more step towards a digital democracy?