Women in Toronto Politics (WiTOpoli) is a non-partisan group that sparks discussion in the broader public discourse about gender, city issues & municipal politics. In the spring of 2014, months away from a major Toronto municipal election, we noticed a problem. Many things can keep people away from the polls in municipal elections: physical barriers, lack of opportunities for personal engagement, immigration status and perceived inability to make a difference through a vote are just a few.
WiTOpoli wouldn’t be able to change all these things at once – but with a little tech savvy and a lot of hard work, we put together an online tool that would empower voters in Toronto by providing them with the information they need to make confident civic decisions. Voters who visit the WiTOpoli Position Primer simply enter their postal codes, and the Position Primer pulls up a ward-specific chart showcasing their council candidates’ positions on 10 key issues of interest to Torontonians.
The position primer was a tremendous team effort that garnered the support of many city leaders and the public. Voter turnout increased by 9%, and while WiTOpoli can’t take all the credit, we know we created an invaluable resource for both candidates and voters. In the fall of 2015, I had an exciting opportunity to give a an Ignite-style talk titled “Empowering the Electorate: a Civic Tech Story” at TimeRaiser’s Take Back Your Tech.
Watch our crowdfunding video: