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New survey matches Seattle voters with council candidates

District 1 Seattle City Council candidates at a recent Speak Out Seattle forum. (Speak Out Seattle)

With dozens of candidates running for Seattle City Council across seven districts, it can be difficult for voters to whittle down candidates. It’s even harder to identify the ones people politically align with, a problem that one Seattle entrepreneur sought to solve, with AlignVote.

Every candidate running for Seattle City Council in 2019

Steve Murch has been sending questionnaires out to Seattle’s various council candidates over the last week, asking them to define their positions on a handful of key issues. Using the information from the over 30 candidates who responded — and comments at public forums for the ones who didn’t — Murch developed a a survey that matches voters with the candidate they politically align with the most.

The survey — dubbed AlignVote — asks voters in each district for their positions on safe injection sites, rent control, congestion tolling, a head tax, and more. It then asks them to rate how important each issue is on a scale of 1 to 100. Using that data, it provides a ranked list of candidates that best matches those responses.

Candidates that have yet to respond are encouraged to respond to the initial questionnaire sent out by Murch either via email or Twitter.

The hope for AlignVote is to have it not only provide some clarity in a crowded council race, but also to implement it on an even bigger scale in the near future.

Bulk of Seattle council contributions coming from outside city

“It’s very early days, and this is tremendously exciting to imagine at a national scale,” he told Geekwire. “What if we had something like this for the crowded Democratic field of 2020?”

Murch volunteers with Speak Out Seattle, an organization that hosted council candidate forums for each district early in 2019. That said, he insists that his development of his survey was independent of his affiliation with the group.

Murch has extensive background in the tech field, having developed an expansive recipe planning app, and a vacation site he later sold to Expedia. He also spent six years working at Microsoft in the 1990s.

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