E-Democracy Postponed: Public Policy Design the Key to UK E-Voting

E-Democracy Postponed: Public Policy Design the Key to UK E-Voting

Mark Liptrott (Edge Hill University, England)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-083-5.ch022
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


This chapter draws on prior research and interviews with Election Officers to analyse stages in the policy process to identify variables impacting on the policy’s effectiveness to promote e-democracy. The conclusion recommends measures to address policy weaknesses and the suggestion for future research discusses the need to evaluate Citizenship Education as a strategy to boost civic engagement.
Chapter Preview


The former UK Labour government proposed a number of measures to bolster democracy and enhance civic engagement, among which were the implementation of e-government by which government services are available electronically, pilot schemes of e-voting and the inclusion of Citizenship Education as a statutory subject in the National Curriculum. The policy to implement electronic government services has been largely successful, however the aim of enhancing civic engagement through policies introducing voting by electronic means and Citizenship Education appear to have failed. This chapter specifically discusses reasons for the failure of the public policy to introduce voting by electronic means. The final section proposes further research to identify reasons that Citizenship Education has failed to inculcate the notion of civic engagement in young people.

Since 2000 the UK government has invited English local authorities to participate in the pilot programme introducing e-voting to be conducted in conjunction with a traditional ballot. Table 1, below, shows the numbers of English local authorities volunteering for the pilot schemes from the almost 400 eligible to apply. UK local government has a clear structure comprising local authorities responsible for their own defined areas and able to manage the voting system for the area. Local authorities act as agencies for central government implementing directives and legislation (Byrne, 2000). They are key to the success of this policy; if they do not adopt e-voting it will be unavailable to the public.

Table 1.
Electoral pilot schemes since 2000
    Date    Number    Type of pilot
    May 2000 English local elections    38    All-postal, on demand postal, early voting.
    May 2002 English local elections    30    All-postal, remote electronic voting.
    May 2003 English local elections    59    E-voting,telephone,text messaging, DTV, kiosk, all postal
    June 2004 European Parliamentary and English local elections    4 European Parliamentary regions    All-postal
    May 2006 English local elections    15    Postal vote signature checking, signing for ballot papers, advanced voting, e-counting, selection of admin measure included in Electoral Administration Act 2006
    May 2007 English local elections    12    E-voting, e-counting, advanced voting, signing for ballot papers.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: