Internet Voting Technologies and Civic Participation: The Users’ Perspective
University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute
Peter Van den Besselaar
Rathenau Institute - Science System Assessment Department; VU University Amsterdam - Faculty of Social Sciences
July 10, 2009
Javnost, Vol. XI, No.1, pp. 61-78, 2004
In many places e-voting technologies are under development, and an intensive theoretical and normative debate is taking place about the pros and cons. We investigate the opinions of the users of this type of technologies, as this is crucial for the shaping and acceptance of the technology. We did not use a survey, but held 14 intensive discussion sessions in different countries with voters and organizers of ballots, using the focus groups methodology. We found consensus that e-voting will not influence turnout. The motivation to start with e-voting therefore seems mainly financial, aiming at reducing costs. This suggests that in the future e-voting will replace traditional ways of voting, and therefore the digital divide can be expected to influence the participation in and the outcome of ballots. Finally, although most respondents expect that e-voting may improve (especially local) democracy through a combination of voting technologies with technologies for supporting deliberation and information dissemination, it remains unclear how this should be done. More detailed studies into political participation and the subtle roles of ICT’s herein are needed, as this can inform the design of adequate technologies for e-democracy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: internet voting, civic participation, e-voting, turnout
Date posted: July 14, 2009 ; Last revised: July 4, 2014
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