Voting in Finland’s general election? Try Yle’s election compass first

Yle launched its election compass (vaalikone) on Thursday, ahead of parliamentary elections due on 14 April.

Eduskuntavaalilogo Englanniksi 2019
Yle News hosts the main political parties to debate their election promises and positions.

Yle’s election compass aims to helps users see (siirryt toiseen palveluun) which candidates’ views align most closely with their own as the scene is set for a closely-watched general election.

The tool is based on a simple algorithm that asks candidates and voters to respond to certain questions or claims before producing a match between users and candidates based on their answers.

Election compasses are nothing new to Finland – they’ve been around for a couple of decades already and many voters rely on them, according to Ville Seuri, Yle content manager and election web producer.

Young voters in particular are keen on the service. Research conducted by the Municipal Development Foundation KAKS (in Finnish) (siirryt toiseen palveluun) into the 2017 municipal elections found that the most important sources of information for under-35-year-olds were social media and the Yle election compass.

Many pre-election developments

Some voters in that study told researcher Sami Borg of Tampere University that they cast their ballots on the basis of recommendations generated by the service.

"When we began working on the tool none of us knew that by the time we published it the government would have resigned and that sote [social and health care reform] would have collapsed," Seuri said.

"The storm over suspicions of sex offences in Oulu was just stirring and there was no indication of [impending] elder care scandals," he added.

According to the Yle producer, the April parliamentary election has been dubbed in turn a climate vote as well as an immigration referendum. "Now it’s being projected as a sote election once more – whatever people think."

Other issues occupying voters’ mindshare include proposed family leave reforms. Seuri noted that the election compass will try to serve all categories of voters by showing them issues on which they agree with election candidates as well as where they part ways.