A new polling website aims to gather opinion on critical issues facing the island from a broad spectrum of the community.
Bermudian entrepreneurs Juan Curtis, Stratton Hatfield and Thomas Stowe have launched WECount.bm as an alternative to traditional polling in Bermuda.
It anonymously polls Bermudians, PRC holders, expatriates, spouses and parents of Bermudians, non-citizen residents and visitors.
The founders, who have been developing the project for four years, claim that existing polling methods rarely reach the broader community and produce “selective, unauthenticated, inaccurate and unreliable” results.
Mr Curtis said: “An initial goal is to grow the website user base and become a trusted information resource for community stakeholders.
“By being able to provide authenticated data on what the people of Bermuda want and need, WEcount.bm aims to empower the decision-making processes of Government, private business and the non-profit sector to encourage consultative and collective change in our country.”
The website was named Innovation of the Year in the 2017 Tech Awards during its beta testing period.
Mr Hatfield added: “The aim is to raise the dialogue and show a broader perspective of the community.
“It is important for Bermudians to have a voice, but this platform is designed to empower everyone — it is about all the people in Bermuda.”
New members must have their association to Bermuda authenticated by an existing WEcount.bm user and/or by using the Parliamentary Registry’s registered Bermudian voter list.
Once authentication is successful, members can join a secure online community where they can contribute to discussions. They can anonymously vote on polls and view the results which are broken down into their respective demographics.
Categories include environment, politics, health and wellness, culture and community, consumerism, industry and economy.
Topics being polled include gun violence, speed limits and Bermuda’s political system.
Mr Hatfield said: “We have been reading and researching current topics related to Bermuda and we go through a review process to determine whether it should be put up as a poll question on the website.
“We also have a function on the website for users to submit their own poll ideas once they have completed the ultimate phase of authentication. They are reviewed by a committee which decides whether to include them on the website.”
Participants remain anonymous, but those signing up are asked to include information about themselves that will be published including age, race, religion, parish and constituency.
“We are trying to have it grow as an honest user base,” Mr Hatfield said.
“It is through referral that people can be authenticated but there are plans in the future to incorporate blockchain technology into it so that we can authenticate people further.”
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Written by Sarah Lagan for The Royal Gazette