Amit Kumar thinks his new app #NeverTrump has the potential to ensure Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, Donald Trump stays far from the White House and third-party supporters’ votes can still count.
“Let’s ensure Hillary wins in swing states, and make sure third-party votes count,” #NeverTrump’s website reads. “We match Hillary voters in blue states with third-party voters in swing states to help them trade votes. Hillary gets more swing votes and third-party candidates get their votes counted.”
Mashable spoke with Amit Kumar on the phone about the app, which his company Trimian started developing after the Democratic National Convention in late July and officially launched Sept. 12.
“Bringing up a 7-year-old and a 16-month-old [my wife and I] thought that just to be sitting on the sidelines was not an option,” he told Mashable. “Unfortunately, living in California we knew our vote wouldn’t count for much because it’s a pretty blue state. So, we started thinking about what we could do.”
Here’s how it works: a Clinton supporter from New York and a third-party supporter from Pennsylvania trade votes with each other, so the New York voter votes for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson and the swing state voter votes for Clinton. This, theoretically, ensures Clinton gets more votes where it matters, and third-party supporters still get a vote, seemingly increasing their popular support. And, most importantly, to the app’s users, Trump does not win.
And, most importantly, to the app’s users, Trump does not win.
Kumar explained to Mashable that he felt especially passionate about making a real effort to help Clinton win is because he is an immigrant and only got his citizenship several years ago.
Kumar presented his initial thoughts to his friend and entrepreneur Zachary Coelius who came up with the idea to introduce a swing state element into the app.Â
Kumar’s company Trimian already had software developed that they were able to use to put #NeverTrump together quickly. So, just a few weeks after Kumar’s inspiration, the app was available for download.
First, #NeverTrump asks for some basic info like your location and name (I gave my dream last name instead of my real one since I was just testing it out, but they encourage users to use their real names).
It asks who you’re voting for â and Trump is not an option.Â
After creating a login, users can then browse potential matches.
Any two people on the app can chat with each other to talk out their trade. The app encourages users to connect with each other via Facebook or LinkedIn to help build trust.
Kumar said #NeverTrump has about 20,000 users total across both the app and web versions, 8,000 of which are active users who have engaged in chats with others.
“We don’t track actual trades, because the app is really a platform for free speech, and we don’t want to get into the business of whether or not the trades are really happening,” Kumar told Mashable.
However, #NeverTrump is not the only vote-trading effort. As we recently explained, swapping votes is perfectly legal thanks to the First Amendment, and several other websites are working toward the same cause already exist.
What makes #NeverTrump stand out, however, is that it’s available as an easy-to-use app in addition to a website. Being an app opens #NeverTrump up to a wider audience than similar services such as trumptraders.org.
The app works on an honor system â and some Trump supporters have already found ways to take advantage (or so they think) of the app. For example, Twitter user Josh Behrens promises Clinton supporters that if they vote for Stein, he will vote for Clinton â though he’s really voting for Trump. However his tactic isn’t too effective, as the people he’s trolling are just voting for Stein in traditionally blue states, which would most likely not help the state skew red.
Others have expressed their admiration for the app.Â
Some have also questioned its legality.
Though the app doesn’t have a huge user base, some of the swing states like Florida and Nevada might be swayed with just a few votes Â â which means the #NeverTrump app could make a real difference on Election Day.