Voting Advice Applications

Voting Advice Applications

Andreas Ladner (IDHEAP, University of Lausanne, Switzerland) and Joëlle Pianzola (IDHEAP, University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch631

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What are Voting Advice Applications?

Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) are web-based applications which provide information about parties or candidates running in elections. They help voters to find out which party or candidate they should vote for. In order to do so they match the voters’ political preferences to those of parties and candidates running in elections. The matching procedure is generally based on the logic of proximity voting (Downs, 1957), which views the voting act as a selection of those representatives that are closest to one’s own political standpoints. Political issue positions are thus at the core of every VAA. The notion of policy congruence usually builds the foundation of representative democracies, where public interests are represented through a body of elected officials towards a common good (Powell, 2000). Hence, a close connection between the policy positions of voters and those of representatives is seen as a detrimental attribute for representative democracies to function properly (Powell, 2004). VAAs aim at converting this democratic ideal into a real-world application that helps voters to figure out which parties or candidates share their political preferences in a cognitively easy and accessible way.

VAAs have so far mostly been designed by political scientists and are open-access tools for the public at large. Anyone who is interested in matching one’s political issue position with those of the electoral offer can use a VAA and receives a voting recommendation from it, presented in a ranking-list of best-matching parties and/or candidates.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Voting Advice Applications: Web applications where voters can match their policy preferences to those of parties or candidates running in elections. The user receives a customized voting recommendation based on policy congruence.

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