A lot of decision-making bodies in politics and the private sector are blocked because they still commit to taking decisions offline. We want to change that by providing a trustworthy sustainable solution that allows remote voting. The call for implementing digital decision-making processes becomes louder during the COVID-19 pandemic as physical distancing has postponed many important voting processes. Especially NGO's and other small organizations are on pause without financial means to find and implement secure solutions to hold votes remotely.
Love-democracy.ch is a transparent and flexible tool for remote voting that is inclusive of people with disabilities. It is a free resource that is easy to use and, thus, qualifies for use by small neighborhood groups, established NGOs, schools, and larger bodies such as the Swiss parliament or even the United Nations. Different subject matters can be added to the agenda and votes can be taken in real-time, either public or secret.
Challenges we ran into
Time and human resources. 48 hours are just not enough to develop a fully functional tool with all the desired design features. We had multiple people joining and dropping out without notice or because of health reasons so adjusting to this successfully increased the resilience of the remaining team members. Clear communication and appreciation of each other's work was the key success factor.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
We are proud that our team was able to find a consensus on how to best address the challenge. We know that our solution is sustainable and scalable and that there are offline solutions available too. Ideally, this project could be developed further to benefit Swiss NGOs that are coping with loss of structure and decision-making tools due to the pandemic or other incidences. The solution is inclusive of all realities and puts a special focus on how to reach and engage people with disabilities and other vulnerabilities. Additional educational materials could help to improve digital literacy.
What we learned
First, there is a challenge. Then, there is an idea. The solutions to this idea can have many different faces. Interdisciplinary collaboration is beneficial to the problem-solving process and teambuilding activities can strengthen the commitment to working on the projects. We are most grateful for the numerous mentors that have provided us assistance in such a short time. We learned that it is possible to build a prototype of a sustainable remote voting tool in two days that could benefit thousands of people in Switzerland. This is wonderful.
What's next for Love-Democracy.ch
We need people who are committed to working on the project to test all the user cases and make it fully functional. Community-based participatory design processes at the stage of development will help to increase acceptability and trust. Given its flexible nature and scalability, federation could be the next step to build portable solutions for diplomatic purposes and other scenarios where one entity has more than one vote. We are keen to keep the tool simple and user-friendly and use graphic design to make it appealing to the end-user.