Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Can E-Voting Encourage Better Voter Turnout Among Young People?

Real Democracy Now Brighton Source: everystock.com 
Voter apathy has always been a problem. It has become increasingly difficult to motivate the electorate and get them interested in politics and plans and everything that is at stake. One demographic in particular has consistently been difficult to engage: youth. This includes the demographic group with voters up to and even beyond 30 years of age.

However, with the adoption an automation of electoral voting systems and other well planned communication strategies, it is possible to encourage greater voter turnout among this important demographic.

A New Generation of Voters
It is a regular perspective among young people that politics is a game that only interests those beyond middle age. It is common among young people to hear that they don't care about the political process, because they feel that it is not relevant to them and that they cannot make a difference.

This does not mean that young people are not capable of caring about something. It does not mean that they cannot be passionate. A quick look at popular social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook will quickly reveal that many people are actively engaged in a myriad of issues. A quick look at your typical city bus or subway will reveal many young people glued to the small screens of their smartphones and other portable devices.

Traditional voting methods may have done the job in the past, but technology and the electoral process needs to move forward with the times to keep up with today's generation of younger voters.

The Obama 2008 Campaign
One needs look no further than the 2008 Presidential campaign by current American President Barack Obama. An integral part of his victory can be attributed to his campaign's use of more contemporary technologies, like turning to Twitter and YouTube to get in touch with younger voters. this strategy was effective and it helped to propel Obama to the White House. However, the use of modern technology was only largely used as part of the campaign.

The Wireless Perspective
As demonstrated with Internet-based voting in Canada, e-voting can indeed improve voter turnout. This is helpful for people who may not be able to attend a local voting place in person, for example, as they may be traveling abroad. The ballot box can literally be at your fingertips with a phone or Internet-based voting system.

The modern generation is one with a wireless perspective. They are less likely to be tied to a landline for telephone communications, relying instead on mobile phones. They are less likely to require physical mail, as they can receive utility bills via e-mail.

Communication isn't necessarily tied to a single location and casting a ballot is indeed an important form of communication.

While it may not be completely clear whether e-voting in the form of touch screen displays (instead of paper ballots) will encourage better voter turnout among young people. But one thing is sure, young people are always looking for greater diligence and immediacy and with electronic voting systems and technology solutions that have the ability to have control of all phases of the electoral process, counts are faster, more accurate and results can be delivered quicker than with a manual counting system.