Ukrainian App for Electoral Participation Receives Special Prize at Copenhagen Democracy Summit

In June 2022, Internews’ partner the Institute of Political Information (IPI) presented its mobile application PolitScanner at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit.

Developed in Odesa, Ukraine, PolitScanner provides information about a politician’s bio, electoral program, and tax statements by simply pointing the phone’s camera at their photo, thanks to facial recognition technology. At the Summit in Copenhagen, the app, developed in partnership with Internews, received a special prize for making a “significant contribution to the development of democracy in Ukraine.”

PolitScanner’s creators wanted the app to bridge the gap between young Ukrainians, who get their information online, and political parties, whose traditional communication approaches were failing to capture young people’s attention. It was a smashing success: PolitScanner generated massive interest from voters, journalists, activists, and politicians alike, and more than 55,000 people downloaded it.

PolitScanner launched in the summer of 2020, before the start of the local election campaign in Ukraine. It was intended as an update to iVote — IPI’s pioneering app that preceded the 2019 Presidential Election.

iVote was an online quiz that allowed users to match their political beliefs with the priorities of candidates. During the election campaigns in 2019-2020, about 200,000 voters used iVote. It was adapted for Telegram as a bot quiz (@I_vote_bot). One of the most popular Ukrainian civic society platforms, Civic Space, included iVote in the list of the best bots in 2019.

PolitScanner’s recognition at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit took place before illustrious world leaders and innovators, including former US President Barack Obama, former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt, and former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Representatives of civil society groups from Albania and Slovakia in attendance at the ceremony expressed their interest in adapting PolitScanner to their countries.

The Institute of Political Information (IPI) is an Odesa-based public organization that promotes democracy in the southern region of Ukraine. In 2011, two local activists and political scientists decided to found an NGO that would successfully engage citizens in democratic processes and play a role as a public educator in the Odesa region and the South of Ukraine through the website”Democratic Informer.” The organization focused on raising public awareness of reforms and providing quality information on political processes taking place in Ukraine (including EU cooperation and reintegration of Donbas). It produces analyses, explainers, and infographics, and provides training for journalists on how to cover all these topics.