88% of Smartvote users support abortion rights

The Smartvote app is a new election tool launched by USI earlier this month


New data released by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and Smartvote.ie has revealed that 88% of users of the Smartvote app are in favour of abortion rights.

The Smartvote app is a new election tool, which has been referred to as ‘The Tinder of Politics.’ USI is asking young people to download and use the app to find out which candidates in General Election 2016 best match their political views.

The app, launched earlier this month, asks the voter a series of questions on 30 key policy areas which include housing, the environment and abortion rights. The voter’s answers are then matched with candidates in their constituency, who have provided their own answers to the same questions. Answers to each question range from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree.’

USI’s new figures show that out of 15,484 Smartvote users, 88% are in favour of abortion. 72% ‘strongly agree’ that abortion should be allowed in cases of rape, incest or when a baby is unlikely to survive outside the womb. 9% agreed and a further 7% slightly agreed, meaning that 88% of users agreed in total.

Eight out of 13 political parties also agreed with this statement. The remaining five parties were noncommittal on this issue, saying that they neither agreed nor disagreed.

USI President Kevin Donoghue said of the app: “There is no such thing as a civil war vote anymore. We’re seeing an increase in a personal, informed vote across Ireland with Smartvote because it makes deciding who to vote for simple, easy and fast. It cuts through any grey areas or long-winded political answers and gets straight to the point. After just three days, over 15,000 people have already used the site and USI expects this number to soar coming up to the General Election.”

Founded in University College Dublin’s (UCD) Innovation Academy, it is hoped that Smartvote will be helpful to students in deciding their vote; Stemwijzer, a similar app from the Netherlands, is used by 80% of 18-25 year-olds during election time. Smartvote was first used in the UCD Student Union elections last March, and then in the recent Carlow-Kilkenny by-election.