Voter Information Web Sites

Voter Information Web Sites

A. Edwards (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-789-8.ch250
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Abstract

Several election studies observe that considerations regarding issues and policies have been gaining weight in voting decisions in Western countries, at the expense of previously existing class or partisan alignments (Denver, 2003). This development may imply that voters show more information-seeking behaviour. In the 1990s, various Web sites have emerged that are designed to support the voters in this job. These voter information Web sites are nonpartisan Web sites that provide the users with information on the election promises, issue positions or past performance of political parties or individual candidates. The term Web site should be understood as including various Internet-based resources and facilities, such as databases, decision-support systems, and discussion forums. In this article, we address the question what these voter information Web sites may offer in terms of their potential of enhancing the quality of voting decisions. The core of this exposition will centre on the Web site design features and on how the voters make use of the Web sites. In the next section, we will highlight the distinction between prospective and retrospective Web sites. The section titled “Voter Information Web Sites” provides an overview of the main design features of voter information Web sites. Some examples of prospective and retrospective Web sites will be discussed. In the Future Trends section, we point toward some future trends. Finally, a tentative assessment will be given of the significance of voter information Web sites for enhancing the functioning of representative democracy.

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