Know Your Vote T.O.
Toronto Public Library, Ontario
On the Know Your Vote T.O. website, voters learned about the Toronto City Council candidates running to represent their neighbourhood, how candidates thought Toronto should tackle big issues facing our city and how decisions are made in the city they call home. Companion events brought voters together to discuss important issues.
Responding to recent challenges to democratic values in Canada and around the world, Toronto Public Library expanded how we support engaged citizenship. Know Your Vote T.O. addressed the issues of voter turnout and education for 2018’s municipal election. A 2014 study found that Torontonians struggle to make informed votes because candidates are not aligned with political parties and there is no central source of information on their positions. Know Your Vote T.O. filled this information gap.
Know Your Vote T.O. is Canada’s first user-friendly, responsive and accessible library website that allows voters to easily find their ward and candidate information, without compromising their privacy. Simple, visual and neutral explanations of the biggest issues facing the city provided essential context to voters. A non-partisan advisory board ensured that questions to candidates and publication practices were administered without bias. Site code is available open source for the library community to adapt.
The site garnered 23,224 distinct users in the month before election day. As anticipated, the site addressed the voter information gap with candidate pages receiving 65% of page views and users spending an average of five minutes and 20 seconds per page. The site was recognized by media and candidates as an authoritative information source with 72% of candidates submitting responses. This positive recognition demonstrated that the library can strengthen local civic engagement without perception of partisanship or bias.