Perception Differences of Online Voting Between Young and Senior Voters

Perception Differences of Online Voting Between Young and Senior Voters

Anne Powell (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, USA), Douglas B. Bock (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, USA), Thomas Doellman (University of Florida, USA) and Jason W. Allen (US Army, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-933-0.ch009
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This chapter presents a research study that examines the antecedents to voting intention with regard to the use of computer-based, online voting systems. The research is based on the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model. Subjects from two different age groups (18-to-25 and 60+ years) in the United States are surveyed to determine the factors affecting their intent to use online voting systems. The results indicate that performance expectancy, social influence, and computer anxiety are factors affecting the intent to use online voting. Significant differences were found between the young adults (18-to-25) and seniors (60+ years) study groups on all four independent variables as well as on intent to use online voting. For young adults performance expectancy, social influence, and computer anxiety are significant factors affecting the intent to use online voting, while for senior citizens, performance expectancy and computer anxiety are significant factors. Ease of use was not a significant indicator of intent to use online voting for either group.
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Voting has always been viewed as a very special privilege accorded to United States citizens. This privilege applies to many other countries around the world. The early history of voting In the United States excluded suffrage for women. This changed in 1920 with the 19th amendment to the United States constitution. Also, the age at which voting privileges were extended to citizens varied among the states. The 26th amendment to the United States constitution standardized the voting age at 18 years in 1971, and this applies to all federal, state, and local elections.

Given the history of various suffrage efforts across the world, one might conclude that voting is a very important aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, while school systems teach youth about the importance of the privilege of voting, it is an obligation that is ignored by many of those eligible to vote. In countries where voter turnout is low this is viewed as a sort of social problem reflecting apathy on the part of many voters. Table 1 gives the turnout for presidential federal elections from 1960 to 2008 in the U.S. only. As you can see, the highest percentage of turnout was in 1960 with 63.1% of those eligible to vote actually casting ballots. The lowest percentage was the 1996 election with 49.1% casting a ballot, a turnout of less than 1 in every 2 voters.

Table 1.
National Voter Turnout for U.S. Federal Elections – 1960 to 2008
YearEligible to RegisterRegistered
Voter TurnoutPercentage
Of Turnout

*Source: 2008 election results:

Source: Federal Election Commission. Data are drawn from Congressional Research Service reports, Election Data Services Inc., and State Election Offices. Information Please® Database, © 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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