March 9, 2008
Continual declines in voter turnout; increased cynicism towards politics; even lower participation in the Euro-elections.
In contrast, more and more people – particularly younger people but the elderly too – are getting involved in online communities and interest groups, and embracing technologies to overcome hurdles, disabilities, fears, absence from home or simply expressing a preference.
We should help citizens reconnect with politics, offering them concretely a means to participate in a way that follows the trend in other parts of their lives. Many simply do not have the time or opportunity to vote at their local voting station.
I propose that the Member States – with support from the Commission – should organise to allow citizens the choice of voting via the Internet at the 2009 elections. They have already budgeted for it! What a signal it would give if they were willing to participate in a joint initiative to make this possible.
It would show a commitment to:
– making the most of technology for public good;
– reinforce public trust in those technologies (they are and can be made safe and secure);
– offering a new channel for participation (beyond polling stations and postal ballots) for people who cannot or do not want to vote in person.
It has been used in the Australian general election and the UD Democratic primaries.
A cross-EU pilot would address and dispel concerns (and myths) and offer an exciting new channel of participation for the future.