A few days before the elections a surprising amount of people are still doubting what party to vote for. We would like to introduce the first version of politics navigator: a tool - build by our AI engineers Sep and Andrzej - that allows you to navigate through data concerning politics: voted motions and party-programs. The aim is to allow users to make more conscious decisions during the elections by presenting data in a digestible and understanding manner.
We simply tried to build what we were missing ourselves. There are plenty of tools that can help you make your decision, if you are still unclear what to vote for. But none of them succeeded in making clear what is most important: what will parties do once they are elected? How many of the promises they made in their programs will be turned into actions?
Party programs often contain claims that are far-fetched and will be hard to realize. Partly because these parties won’t be a part of the cabinet, and partly because they need to compromise. One way to find out what actions a party has taken is to look at the motions they filed and voted for. These motions contain a request to the ruling government, asking them to act in one way or another.
Therefore we make the claim that, to make the right decision, you need to look at the actions that a party has taken during the last governing phase. That means looking at the motions they filed, voted for, voted against, and comparing those to what they promised, and what they are promising for the upcoming elections.
Apart from visualizing the difference between promises and their later realization, we wanted to be able to search for topics that we you are interested in, not what people are “commonly” interested in. Stemwijzer, a famous tool to help you find the party that most fits your needs, pics 30 questions on general topics, disregarding other topics you might find more interesting. Our tool allows you to search for what you find interesting. After all, it’s a representative democracy, so the people we elect should represent our beliefs and ideologies.
The tool starts with a plain search bar, where a user can enter a phrase or a problem. The search engine that operates on top of the database returns motions and paragraphs from party-programs that concern your query. For the user, we display 4 quick facts:
Below this, we present a heatmap that shows the correlation between 8 parties that created most of the motions, visualizing how much they agreed concerning this topic. It’s quite interesting to see how parties work together on some topics but oppose each other on others. For example, you can go to the tool to find “dierenwelzijn” which means animal welfare and see that the most opposing parties are BBB (party for farmers) and PVDD (party for animals). However, it is surprising that the parties that worked together the most on this topic are PVDD and PVV (party for freedom). The former is highly regarded as left-progressive, while the latter is seen as right-conservative.
Another thing that becomes clear is that the PVDD has mentioned more in their current (2023) program than in their last (2021) program about animal welfare, and that all parties have done more in terms of motions, than they put in their programs. This is explained in the section below. The chart that visualizes this shows the number of motions a party prepared, and the number of paragraphs in the last two programs (i.e., the program from 2023 and 2017) that concern the topic, combined.
The last part contains all the search results, which can be narrowed down to a given party by pressing its name in the graph. Clicking one of these results can show you the summary of the document, and, when it is a motion, show the parties that filed it and the ones that voted for and against it.
Take some time for thorough investigation
As claimed before, many people still do not know what to vote for. With a few days until the elections, why not take some time to do some real investigation? Seeing what parties did when elected is the clearest way to find out if the party suits your needs.
We feel that we have built something that easily allows a user to search for information that is relevant to them, and what is even more important, to check the correlation between promises in the parties’ programs and the actions taken afterwards. It also shows a general comparison between parties on, for example, voted motions, thus allowing to find alternatives to the commonly accepted bindings between topics and parties.
It should be underlined that the work is still in progress at the time of writing. You can check out the tool here.