Is this legal?
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 require that anyone logging in via email can be reached by
the swap partner they have agreed to. The kinds of thoughts and
articles you choose to share with your swap partner may help
trust arise naturally.
In the past we have integrated the Swap My Vote platform with
two of the biggest public social networks used in the UK
(Twitter and Facebook) as another way to check that there is a
real person at the other end of the swap. However, due to
technical challenges these are not available during the 2021
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
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We do not publish anything on your behalf outside the Swap My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
No data is shared with Facebook or Twitter about your voting
We only collect the minimum of data to allow us to find you a
swap - see our
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:
You're not in your swap partner's network of friends on Facebook.
Unfortunately we recently discovered that Facebook have locked down
the links to user profiles which they provide to apps, so that
they only work for users who are already friends.
Your swap partner chose not to allow the Swap My Vote app access to a
link to their Facebook profile when they logged in to the app via
Your swap partner logged into the app through some other mechanism,
e.g. Twitter or email.
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
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
Can I change my mind about my voting preferences, or change
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 3 hours and we
will email both parties to let them know to log in to find a new
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?
permanently remove your account.
Please note that you may no longer get emails from us with news
on electoral reform or reminders for future elections.
plan to add a feature to allow pausing of swaps
later on, so that this can be done temporarily without the need
to delete your account.
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
Tom de Grunwald is a social
entrepreneur and producer with a background in broadcast,
digital storytelling, and civic technology projects. Tom is
passionate about using technology to help defend and promote
democracy, and to create positive social change. He has
founded Forward Democracy to help further defend and promote
democracy, and his consultancy focuses on digital social
impact, working with Tech for UK, Democracy Club, Graduate
Fog, Open Rights Group, Shared Assets, Good Law Project, and
Adam Spiers is our
project CTO; an expert in Free and Open Source Software he
builds tech products that help democratic engagement in his
James Allen is the a
co-founder and led development of the project. He also co-founded
collaborative platform for scientists (now part of Overleaf). He is
interested in how technology can make people more efficient and enable
new ways of communication and collaboration, like Swap My Vote.
Eggleston is an enthusiastic convert to Ruby on Rails after a long
career in Java. She is passionate about building software that is
intuitive to use and easy to configure, and is taking time out from
her startup fflow to
support Swap My Vote.
Steve Baxter is a
software engineer who has been involved in a wide range of products
and technologies, from life sciences to events management. He is
interested in the intersection between politics and technology and
wanted to do something positive instead of just shouting at the
is a developer with a strong ruby bias, and a dabbler in other
programming languages. A keen amateur music maker, but sadly hobbies
have now taken a back seat to an obsession with
improving democracy in the UK.
Tom and James had the same idea for the platform at different
times and met
online. The team still works together almost entirely
How can I trust this app?
In the interests of transparency,
our entire codebase
is available for peer review. You can also scrutinise our
or if those are not sufficient, you are welcome to