Aastha Chawla - Computer Science & Engineering, Music (minor)
Mariah Manzano - Web Design & Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering (minor), Technical Innovation & Entrepreneurship (minor)
Story DeWeese - Computer Science & Engineering
Antonio Gigliotti - Computer Science & Engineering
Andy Meger - Economics, Public Policy (pathway)
Our political system and media are becoming more polarized with each election cycle. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find credible, unbiased information on political candidates on the web. With Elect, we hoped to build a platform that informs voters on the most relevant and pressing issues and connects them with the candidates that most align with their values. We hoped to keep it simple, sticking to broad issues that the average voter would be concerned with. Elect cuts through the clutter in order to quickly provide voters with pertinent election information so they can make an informed decision when voting.
What it does
Elect is a web platform that educates voters through three separate channels of information. First, Elect features a brief 15 question quiz to let users input their political beliefs on a variety of issues. Upon submitting the quiz, Elect compares the users information with predetermined info from each candidate collected from their campaign websites, public statements, and voting record. The result of this comparison presents the users with their top three candidates and how similar they are with each. Next, Elect has a page that shows each candidate still in the presidential race. The user can click their image to get a view of their political positions without taking the full quiz. Finally, Elect provides broad information on how to vote and the nearest polling places.
How we built it
We built the website using HTML, CSS and Django. We mapped out our UI/UX on Figma, and used Github as our form of version control. Django provided the web framework and backbone of the website, while python let us control exactly what our website did. Lastly HTML and CSS provided a front end of our application that gave it a welcome look and feel.
Challenges we ran into
We had trouble connecting our stylesheet to the HTML files. We learned that there is a very specific way that Django accesses static files, such as style sheets. Additionally, we set up a database and were able to add candidates from the Admin mode, but we encountered trouble taking in user input in the quiz submission button to post to the database.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of the UI/UX and the design of the website. We are also proud of our interdisciplinary team of computer science and engineering majors, a web design and engineering major, and an economics major. We all brought unique expertise to the team based on our previous tech and political knowledge and were able to work collaboratively and effectively together to reach our mission.
What we learned
We gained a much better understanding of the Django web framework as a whole. We came in with limited experience with the web framework but now are all leaving with a deeper understanding of how Django works and what it is capable of. We also had group members come in with different skills (some front-end experience, some back-end) and at the end of this, everyone got to work on an aspect of web development that they did not before.
What's next for Elect
The most important next steps are to finish the user interaction with inputting information about their personal political views, and the algorithm to return the presidential candidate who most aligns with their views. We also have additional designs for the website that we will implement. After these changes are made, we would like to buy a domain name and host our website to allow the public to use this web app.