Want to ‘know your candidate?’ New app lets voters contact election runners directly

Want to ‘know your candidate?’ New app lets voters contact election runners directly

The-Daily-Start | 04, Apr 2018

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BEIRUT: Developers of a mobile app for the elections launched last month are aiming to build a “direct link” between voters and candidates, its creator told The Daily Star, as finalized electoral lists ramp up their campaigns for the May 6 parliamentary race. Mario Hachem, co-founder and CEO of the Beirut-based tech firm TEDMOB, said the main problem he noticed leading up to elections was a lack of information on districts, candidates and platforms that average people could find online.

“If you vote in Metn or Beirut, there is no place on the internet to tell you how many candidates you have, which seat, which candidates are women – we don’t have it,” Hachem told The Daily Star Monday. “You have a PDF from the government and that’s it.”

The lack of information, Hachem said, was a problem that could harm the transparency, and even fairness, of next month’s parliamentary elections – the first of their kind in nine years, widely expected to shake up Parliament’s current composition.

“It’s not acceptable anymore to bring back the same people after nine years of no elections,” Hachem said. “It’s not acceptable to vote for someone you don’t know [about in-depth], and it’s not acceptable after nine years to have the same people elected.”

So in 2015, TEDMOB started developing “Aarif Moshrahak” – “Know Your Candidate” – which launched last month.

The app’s stated purpose is to close a knowledge gap by creating a “direct link” between voters and candidates running for election, Hachem said.

So how does that “link” actually work? Voters can click on a specific candidate’s profile on the app, and then send encrypted messages with their questions and concerns.

“It’s very important to be able to talk and discuss [issues] with your candidate,” Hachem said.

Madeline Edwards

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