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FAQ

Is this legal?

Yes.

Vote swapping has taken place informally since voting began, not least within parliaments. We know of no law against it (unlike selling your vote, or compelling someone to vote against their will, which are very much illegal!), and indeed in the USA, swapping votes has been found by the Appeals Court to be protected speech under the First Amendment. Swap My Vote merely introduces two individuals to each other who have complementary voting preferences; nothing changes hands, and the secret ballot still stands: you are responsible for trusting your partner - and voting according to your conscience! Please do not take pictures of your ballot.

How do I know my partner will vote (for who I want)?

We have integrated the Swap My Vote platform with two of the biggest public social networks used in the UK (Twitter and Facebook) so that you see that there is a real person at the other end of the swap, and potentially make contact with your partner. However we appreciate that not everyone wants to use those services, so we now also support log-in via email, with the requirement that anyone logging in via email can be reached by the swap partner they have agreed to. The kinds of thoughts and articles you share may help trust arise naturally.

To help prevent fake accounts, we have also made verification of a mobile phone number mandatory.

If you do make contact with your vote partner, perhaps let each other know what the most important policies to you, what you would like your vote to achieve, why you have decided to swap your vote.

Some people even let each other know when they're heading down to the polling station and, on the day, we'll send you a link you can click to automatically let each other know you've voted.

We’re hoping that this site may contribute to a greater sense of community amongst voters, all hoping to make the country run as well as possible for a better future for everyone.

Do my voting intentions stay private?

Yes. Your voting intentions are sacred! We do not publish anything on your behalf outside the Swap My Vote platform and emails. Sharing the site is voluntary and the 'share' buttons create a draft post with generic text which you can change before posting. No data is shared with Facebook or Twitter about your voting preferences. We only collect the minimum of data to allow us to find you a swap - see our privacy policy for more about how we use cookies to monitor visits to the site. Your name, profile picture, constituency and voting preferences will be presented to voting partners in different constituencies who have the complementary preferences.

Why do I need to log in with Facebook / Twitter / email, and not X?

We are trying to bring an element of trust to vote swapping (see the section on trust above) - in order that your voting partner can have a sense of who you are, and vice versa, we currently ask that you either log in with one of the two biggest public social networks used in the UK (Twitter and Facebook), or via email. This way you both have a chance to find out a bit about each other, and what kinds of issues matter to you both, effectively forming a mini-alliance. We are open to other options for the future as platform use develops.

Why can't I reach my swap partner's Facebook profile?

This could be for one of a few reasons:

To help fix this problem, we are also asking everyone for consent to share their email address with their swap partner.

However as a last resort, you can always consider cancelling your swap and looking for another swap partner. The little icons next to someone's name can help you find someone who is easier to reach out to.

I'm having trouble logging in - help!

If you are having issues logging in, please check you are not using any browser extensions that may block data from Facebook or Twitter (like Adblock).

How have you chosen which political parties to offer through Swap My Vote?

Working out which parties to include in the swapmyvote.uk platform has not been straightforward: initially we prioritised parties that were fielding candidates in all constituencies across the UK. Then, particularly in the wake of 2015's Leaders Debates, which uncovered hidden demand for Scottish and Welsh parties, we added SNP and Plaid Cymru. Inclusion in the platform is currently a trade-off between simplicity and the time it takes to include parties; updating poll information is time-consuming and we are at present a small team. Lastly, with the phenomenal demand for the platform, we have been working hard to make sure that other aspects of the site work as well as possible. Ultimately, Swap My Vote is devotedly non-partisan and aspires to as fully inclusive as practically possible - thank you for bearing with us while we work towards this.

I want to swap with someone in a particular constituency. Please can you find me a swap there?

At present we show you potential voting partners in a range of constituencies in order to maximise the number of swaps available to everyone who has signed up. You can see polls by their names and, if you can't find a swap you are happy with, you can reset your voting preferences and be matched again (see below).

Can I change my mind about my voting preferences, or change constituency?

Yes, you can change at any time. Just update your info using the link that says "Not right? Update your info". If you have already chosen or confirmed a swap, it will reset the swap, letting your partner know it has been cancelled. You are then free to choose another swap.

My swap hasn't been confirmed; what should I do?

If your partner hasn't confirmed the swap, it will now automatically expire after 1 hours and we will email both parties to let them know to log in to find a new partner.

However if you don't want to wait, you can cancel your swap immediately as described below.

The swap I’ve been offered isn’t a good one - how can I find a better voting partner?

See how to cancel your swap as described below.

How can I reset or cancel my swap?

Just temporarily change your voting preferences using the link that says "Not right? Update your info" and it will reset the swap, letting your partner know it has been cancelled. Then change them back, and you will be ready to choose another voting partner from the list.

No-one is confirming a swap with me. What’s going on?

People finding it hard to find a swap are often in quite safe seats - you may find it useful to think about experimenting with your 'willing' party - you can update your info using the link that says "Not right? Update your info" and we will try to find you new voting partners based on the new details.

I have changed my mind and no longer wish to find someone to swap with. What should I do?

You can deactivate your account by changing both of your party preferences to the same party here, so that a swap becomes meaningless and no-one is likely to suggest one.

You can permanently remove your account. Please note that you will no longer get emails from us with news on electoral reform or reminders for future elections.

Who made this site?

We are a loose knit group of people who care passionately about making democracy work better, and believe that new technologies (the Internet, social media, etc) can very much play their part in this.

Tom and James had the same idea for the platform at different times and met online. The team still works together almost entirely remotely.

How can I trust this app?

In the interests of transparency, our entire codebase is available for peer review. You can also scrutinise our privacy policy, or if those are not sufficient, you are welcome to contact us.