How “VotingSmarter” Can Help You Shop According to Your Values

“Why do companies spend millions of dollars on lobbying and donations?” That’s a question many consumers ask VotingSmarter, Inc., a civic-tech nonprofit. The answer? Because 1% of profits is all it takes to buy the policies that’ll increase profits next year. As a consumer, that affects you, too. It’s the money you spend on the brand that allows it to earn profits and turn around to spend it on lobbying.

Knowing which companies spend money on political donations and lobbying can be a daunting process, but still a valuable one. The VotingSmarter team understands that money has an absolutely massive influence over politics, and that’s why they have dedicated their efforts to helping shoppers choose brands with similar values as themselves.

VotingSmarter was founded by Terry Crandall, and started as a website that covered the presidential primaries. As the team grew to more than 40 people, in 2020 they created a “dating app” for elections that matched voters with government leaders at all levels that aligned with their beliefs. The VotingSmarter team spent thousands of hours doing deep dives into candidates so the everyday user of the app doesn’t have to. Terry and his team refer to themselves as the Geek Squad for politics, leading millions of consumers to easily make informed decisions. The program helped over 3,000 users to find their best matches for President, House, Senate, and Governor during the last election.

VotingSmarter observes that most of the voters are under-informed because they don’t have the time to go through all the differing opinions presented by the media. The team does the heavy lifting for you, giving you an unbiased insight into any issue. VotingSmarter’s volunteers are very diverse politically, socioeconomically, racially, by gender, and include members of the LGBTQ+ community. That helps the platform offer an impartial take on news and policies, helping you get informed.

Now, the team has shifted its goals to the economic side of politics. They hope to redirect billions of dollars of consumer spending and millions in campaign donations by helping their users “shop their values” in the next few years.

The team’s mission is to help you use the information to start funding the world you want. The new browser extension works behind the scenes to match shoppers with the companies that share their values. This makes it easy to see how the brands you like compare to others on different issues. For example, you can check whether a brand shares the same views as you do on things such as abortion, gun laws, climate change, and gender equality.

The brand also hopes to have helped millions of voters “vote their values” rather than voting for a party or a person solely because they hate the other party. Ultimately, VotingSmarter wants to help increase voter participation in primary and local elections by over 100% and by 20% in the next national general elections. By doing so, the team hopes it will show the media and corporations that there is a massive market for neutral, fair political information.

LA Weekly