A bottleneck model of e-voting : why technology fails to boost turnout
Title: A bottleneck model of e-voting : why technology fails to boost turnout
Citation: New media and society, 2011, Vol. 13, No. 8, pp. 1336-1354
Recent years have seen increasing interest in internet voting in theory and practice. Proponents hope that modernizing the electoral process will boost turnout. Less optimistic scholars object that the new technology merely perpetuates existing patterns of participation. This study aims to arbitrate the controversy. New survey data from the 2007 general election in Estonia allow us to predict the usage of e-voting and its impact on electoral participation. We find that e-voting mostly affects 'peripheral' citizens (in a demographic and political sense), but only few of these citizens vote online in the first place. Conversely, the impact on typical e-voters is low. This 'bottleneck' effect explains why e-voting has failed to boost turnout but also points to a role in reducing political inequality.
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