In the 2000 election, vote swapping became a popular option as many encouraged Ralph Nader supporters in swing states to trade their vote with Al Gore supporters in blue states.
However, “word didn’t spread fast enough, and the internet was still in its infancy,” and the Nader Trader effort failed, Ricardo Reyes and John Stubbs, the co-founders of Republicans for Hillary, said in a piece published in The New York Times.
Looking to today’s election, many, like Stubbs and Reyes are encouraging anti-Trump Republicans to swap their vote.
But what is vote swapping? Let’s say you have a voter in Ohio who is supporting Gary Johnson and a voter in New York supporting Clinton. Those in the #NeverTrump camp would argue that it’s safer for the two to trade who they are voting for. That way Gary Johnson still gets the same number of popular votes, but Clinton will win Ohio.
“If you like Gary Johnson and you want to vote for Gary Johnson, this isn’t for you,” said Stubbs of vote trading in an interview with Business Insider. “This is really about those people who just don’t like Clinton, but also know that Trump would be the worst case scenario. So we’re saying, that’s fine, let’s figure out a way to have someone else vote for Clinton instead of you.”
While the vote swapping concept is not new, the technologies surrounding it have certainly improved since 2000.
And that’s where the #NeverTrump app comes in. The app was created by developers at Trimian Inc., a company that currently has about 120 apps in the App Store, most of which have to do with connectivity and productivity in the workplace. The team decided to take their existing programs and apply it to connecting voters.
The app has two main functions:
1- It will go through your existing contacts and tell you who is from a swing state. It then encourages you to reach out and possibly swap votes with one of your friends. You can also send them messages reminding them to vote.
2- The app will connect you to strangers in swing states who are interested in swapping votes. Almost like a dating app, #NeverTrump presents you with names of five voters using their automated matching system, which draws from your interests (like civil rights, for instance) and matches you with people who share similar interests. Then, you can look at their profiles, and if you find someone you like, you can start chatting.
Amit Kumar, the CEO of Trimian, says that since there is ultimately no way to guarantee that people will follow through on a vote-trading deal, he wants to make sure both parties feel comfortable and build trust. This is why they provide a chat forum and why they give people multiple options of trading partners.
#NeverTrump is not the only group facilitating vote swapping. Makeminecount.org and swingvoteswap.com are other vote trading sites. People are also posting on Facebook asking if friends in swing states would be interested in swapping.
So as people fear another 2000 election outcome, developers are trying to use their skills to create, what they believe, is a safer option heading into November.