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First the real lesson - "Postal voting increases turnout by 28%"
Now three useful articles...
The rise in voter apathy is damaging to the health of democracy. But is
the remedy, asks Wendy Grossman, to use the latest technology to make it
easier to cast your vote?
13 May 2002
It's the modern fix: if something isn't working, throw some technology at
it. Accordingly, on 2 May, when the country went to the polls, voters in
selected wards of Liverpool and Sheffield were allowed to vote by several
new means: SMS text via mobile phone, over the internet, via landline
telephone (Liverpool), and via public information kiosk (Sheffield). The
technology for these trials was supplied by BT working in conjunction with
the US company Election.com, and the results are feeding into a worldwide
open standard for electronic voting systems.
Judging by both Liverpool and Sheffield, the trials were successful.
Certainly, voter turnout was up in the wards where electronic systems were
in place. In the Church ward of Liverpool as many as 41.1 per cent of
those who voted did so by non-traditional means, and turnout increased
from 24.52 per cent in the 2000 elections to 36.45 per cent in this one.
What's surprising is that of the new methods offered, text messaging seems
to have been the least popular, capturing from 6.3 to 8.1 per cent in
Liverpool (as compared with more than 17 per cent for internet and "fixed"
But did turnout increase in any permanent fashion or is the increase just
a reaction to the novelty of the new systems? David Henshaw, Liverpool
Council's chief executive, while pleased with the results, says that
despite these figures, "It's not clear what that has to do with increasing
the engagement of voters with democracy".
... end of clip ... See:
Electronic ballots meet with limited success
Paul Allen [14-05-2002]
Councils and vendors have been assessing the impact of electronic voting
technology in the recent council elections - following a mixed response
Trials in Liverpool and Sheffield produced encouraging results, but
nationwide the picture was generally disappointing, with turnouts in some
areas down. A spokesman for Election.com, which managed the trials
alongside BT, said leaving the window of opportunity open for longer would
encourage wider use on voting by phone, internet and text message. "In
Liverpool and Sheffield people were allowed a week to vote."
John Stevens, BT's e-democracy project manager, said the technology had
stood up well.
Voters were sent a PIN and password slip, which was kept under a foil
layer. "You would have to scratch off the foil, and this prevented
tampering before passwords were received by voters." The cards were posted
in sealed envelopes, unlike traditional ballot cards.
... end clip ...
And <http://www.voxpolitics.com> popped up this one:
Report urges lessons in e-voting
Staff and agencies
Thursday May 23, 2002
There is public support for the idea of internet and phone voting, but the
government must help to educate those electors who are less confident with
new technology if an electronic general election is to go ahead, a report
backed by ministers claimed today.
The findings from Leicester's De Montfort university back up the
government's policy of trialling e-voting in local elections, adding that
the best way forward is "multichannel" voting, where people can cast their
ballot in a range of ways that include the traditional polling station and
Electronic voting was used for the first time in this year's council
elections, and scored some minor successes in raising turnout. All-postal
voting proved far more popular, almost doubling turnout in some areas.
... end clip ...
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