VoteGopher geared toward helping students learn about candidates

For some college students who are busy cramming for tests and browsing Facebook, spending hours researching presidential candidates may be unrealistic.

But fear not, politically-minded readers: A college student has created a helpful tool.

Will Ruben, a sophomore at Harvard University, is the founder and CEO of, a Web site designed to help users compare candidates by issue.

Under the slogan, “We dig, you decide,” VoteGopher is run mainly by Harvard undergraduates who post information on candidates while working under a non-partisan oath.

Ruben began working on the site last spring and continued throughout the summer.

“I sort of realized there was no easy way to find out where candidates stand,” Ruben said. “Lots of people didn’t know about the lesser-known candidates.”

Before launching the site, Ruben sent e-mails through Harvard listservs and got responses from students interested in contributing to the project.

Although the site is not exclusively designed for college students, Ruben wants to especially target young people and encourage voter turnout in Americans under 30.

“Don’t follow politics? Don’t think you know enough to make an educated choice? That’s why I founded,” writes Ruben in his “Get Out the Vote” letter on the site. “With VoteGopher, ‘not knowing enough’ is no longer an excuse for not voting. Our simple yet detailed position summaries provide the necessary information for making an informed choice.”

As for his voting decision, Ruben remains undecided, adding, “I’m going to use the site.”

Blair Brettschneider may be contacted at

Interested in using a Web site to find a candidate? Viewers can take a 14-question quiz that will show which candidate’s views are most similar to their own An election guide written by the New York Times staff gives each candidate’s position on major issues ranging from abortion to climate change
– Let’s viewers choose a topic and then listen to an audio file of the candidates answering questions about that topic

January 28, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.