Assessing Citizens Acceptance of Mobile Voting System in Developing Countries: The Case of Egypt

Assessing Citizens Acceptance of Mobile Voting System in Developing Countries: The Case of Egypt

Hany Abdelghaffar (German University in Cairo, Egypt) and Lina Galal (German University in Cairo, Egypt)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/jea.2012040102
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Abstract

In modern societies, information and communication technology is used to increase citizens’ participation in the democracy process. In developing countries, to enhance the democracy, there is need to utilize the ICT to enhance citizens’ participations in the elections. This created through making the voting easier for eligible voters and grant that their votes will be counted. This research identifies the factors that affect citizens’ intentions of adopting mobile voting systems by introducing a prototype of m-voting system to citizens in Egypt. Findings show that ease of use, usefulness, trust, and mobility have significant impact on citizens’ intention to use m-voting system.
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1. Introduction

Many developing countries did several steps to move towards democracy. Democracy in its simple definition is that people are able to participate in the political life to select their politicians who represent them in the political system (Choi, 2006). The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) provides an excellent opportunity for democracy by providing several means for citizens to participate in the decision making such as e-forums, e-referenda, e-voting, and other forms of e-participation (Pippa, 2004). The most important one of these technologies is the e-voting where citizens vote for their candidates which considered the core part of the democracy process.

For many years, the traditional voting method, which includes the use of ballot at polling centers or the use of postal mails, has been used for many years (Chaum et al., 2008; Hajjar et al., 2006; Stanica-Ezeanu, 2008). However, in the last few decades some countries utilized the ICT in the voting process and the electronic voting (e-voting) was introduced (Stanica-Ezeanu, 2008). The electronic voting includes the use of a computer rather than the traditional way of ballot at polling centers. E-voting is considered inexpensive, fastest and the most efficient way to administer elections and count votes (Paul & Tanenbaum, 2009; Hajjar et al., 2006).

Currently, there are different e-voting systems such as kiosks, voting through the internet, punch cards, and marksense (also called optical scan ballots) (Chaum et al., 2008; Hajjar et al., 2006). Most of the e-voting systems somehow have the same features such as ensuring voter authenticity while ensuring vote anonymity and vote-counting proof. However, there is a need for assuring the uniqueness of the vote and allowing for vote automation. This needs to be done while guaranteeing avoidance of software or hardware problems that could malfunction (Costa et al., 2008). Furthermore, the e-voting system is operated by diverse groups of people each with diverse training, experience, motive and opportunity that might influence the results (Paul & Tanenbaum, 2009; Villafiorita et al., 2009). Therefore, there should be a control over the combination of technology and human labor to ensure the success of any e-voting system.

Mobile voting (m-voting) is considered to be an electronic voting system which removes the inherited limitations of the traditions and the e-voting systems that required, in many cases, the physical existence of the citizens in the polling location (Ayo et al., 2008; Ekong & Ekong, 2010). M-voting allows voting to be done via mobile devices which allow citizens to conduct voting from their home, work or on the move. Therefore, it enhances voter participation in elections.

Reviewing the literature shows that there is a gap regarding investigating the factors that affect citizens’ intention of using m-voting system in developing countries. Moreover, many studies covered m-voting from technical perspective rather than usage side (Aditya et al., 2004; Chaum et al., 2008). In order to address this gap, a research question has been developed: “What are the factors that affect citizens’ adoption of m-voting system in Egypt?” Since there are no voting advice applications (VAA) available for investigation in developing countries, by identifying the factors affecting citizens adoption of electronic elections, a clear clue of which factors need to be considered if political parties would like to apply voting advice applications (VAA) in developing countries.

To achieve this, a prototype of a mobile voting system was designed to show the users the interface of m-voting system that contains the major features for m-voting. This is followed by conducting a survey to examine which factors are significantly affecting the adoption of such a technology.

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