Young developers compete
to create voting apps

Technology is at the forefront in helping voters make educated choices for this year’s presidential election, due to the ubiquity of smartphones, which can help people to gain immediate access to election news.

 A competition was held on Saturday for young programmers to create applications relating to the presidential election.

The Code for Vote 2.0 Challenge was held at the fX Lifestyle Center in Senayan, Central Jakarta. It was hosted by the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) and the Jakarta branch of the Google Developers Group (GDG), with support from Google, the Asia Foundation and the General Elections Commission (KPU).

“It aims to give information about the election and to encourage the public, especially first-time voters, to participate,” Perludem project officer Diah Setiawaty said.

A total of 334 participants, in 107 groups from various regions, competed in the challenge, for which they were required to create applications for users to access real-time election updates as well as information about the two presidential candidates: the Gerindra Party’s Prabowo Subianto and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle’s (PDI-P) Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

“Information about the election has to be able to be reached by all groups of people. It needs to be available in a simple, accessible way,” Perludem executive director Titi Anggraini said.

One participant, Fakhria “Ifa” Shabrina, said that young people usually accessed information through smartphone applications rather than the Internet.

She said that her all-woman team was driven to compete based on how few young people were aware of the backgrounds of the candidates.

“We’re trying to convince them [to vote]. This competition also benefits us because it makes us learn more,” Ifa told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

Ifa said all the data was provided by the organizers, meaning that her team, Femmous, only needed to input it into their application.

“The data is about the presidential candidates, such as their educational backgrounds and their career experience,” she said.

“We have also included some news about the election and people’s comments from social media sites. The comments are updated every second based on [Twitter] hashtags.”

Ifa said her team was concerned that its application would be too similar to others.

“Therefore, we are trying to offer added value with a different design. We also have additional features, such as a reminder of the date of the election as well as animated videos on how to cast your vote,” she said.

GDG Jakarta manager Putri Izzati said she believed that all the young people involved in the competition had the potential to change the future.

“They have the potential, desire and capability to contribute positively to the winds of change in Indonesia,” she said.

Winners will get a cash prize and a trip to Google’s Asia-Pacific office in Singapore.

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