- Jen Winston is using her $US9.99-a-month Tinder Plus subscription to canvass for Democratic candidates in swing states.
- Winston Tweeted about what she has dubbed “Tinder banking” – a play on phone banking – on Sunday after she matched with a man in Georgia and asked if he was voting for the state’s gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
- She doesn’t put her beliefs in her Tinder profile, and waits until she’s matched with people to reveal she’s using the app to canvass.
A woman in New York decided to keep her $US9.99-a-month Tinder Plus subscription so she could canvass for Democratic candidates in swing states ahead of next week’s Midterm elections.
Jen Winston, who runs the feminism-focused Instagram Girl Power Supply, has been using the app to speak to people in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and more about voting.
As a writer and public speaker, Winston travels a lot, so she initially purchased Tinder Plus in order to speak to people in cities she was going to. She was considering getting rid of the app feature recently, until she realised she could use it to canvass.
Winston tweeted about what she has dubbed “Tinder banking” on Sunday after she matched with a man in Georgia and asked if he was voting for the state’s gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
I paid $9.99 for Tinder Plus which seemed dumb until I realized I could change my location & campaign in swing states pic.twitter.com/UaaOWGsztY
— Jen Winston (@jenerous) October 27, 2018
When the tweet picked up steam, she added a list of Democratic candidates in swing states and other ways people could take action.
She doesn’t put her political beliefs in her Tinder profile, and waits until she has matched with a person to reveal she’s using the dating app to canvass.
“People in my Tinder survey are voting, and they’re voting Blue,” Winston told INSIDER, after noting that many people are concerned about the youth vote.
She hasn’t matched with any Republican voters yet, but she joked it might be her “self selecting a little bit” when she swipes on potential matches.
Winston said that using Tinder to canvass is very similar to text banking, and others have responded to her tweet saying they were inspired to do the same – she said she heard from people in London and New York using Tinder to canvass in North Dakota.
Earlier this year, Suraj Patel, a Democratic candidate for one of New York’s 12th district, disclosed he spent $US5,000 on Tinder banking leading up to the primary election. (He lost.)
Winston says she’s not being paid to do this, and stressed it’s only one way she canvasses and that it’s impractical in the long run because a large swath of demographics would be missed if that was the sole way of contacting people.
“But it is fun,” she said. “It’s better than being on Tinder for real purposes right now.”
Winston, who is currently working on a memoir called “The Big Unlearn” about her activism journey, said her goal is to educate people on social issues and politics.
“Activism has this barrier to entry where everyone thinks they have to be perfect to fight for justice, when in reality we can all fall down as long as we promptly get back up again,” she said. “Most of my work aims to de-intellectualize the activism space, and this Tinder banking project definitely falls into that category.”
She also had some words for people considering not voting in the upcoming election. She noted there is ongoing voter suppression in the United States, including among Native Americans in North Dakota, and gerrymandering that could affect outcomes.
“If you’re considering not voting I think that it’s a waste of a huge privilege that we think every American has but not every American actually gets to exercise,” she said.
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