RC 10 - Electronic Democracy

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Electronic Democracy edited by N. Kersting

Just published :
KERSTING N. (ed.), Electronic Democracy, Barbara Budrich Publishers, "The World of Political Science" Series, July 2012.

The timely book takes stock of the state of the art and future of electronic democracy, exploring the history and potential of e-democracy in global perspective. Analysing the digital divide, the role of the internet as a tool for political mobilisation, internet Voting and Voting Advice Applications, and other phenomena, this volume critically engages with the hope for more transparency and political participation through e-democracy.

The editor:
Prof. Dr. Norbert Kersting,
Department of Political Science, University of Münster, Germany

Target groups:
Undergraduates, postgraduates, and post-docs in Political Science, democracy, public administration, governance, International Relations, sociology

electronic democracy, e-voting, social media

Subject area:
Political Science, democracy, public administration, governance, International Relations, sociology

Foreword Preface

1. The Future of Electronic democracy Norbert Kersting

2. Political mobilization and social networks. The example of the Arab spring Pippa Norris

3. Social media Jason Abbott

4. Electronic political campaigning Andrea Römmele

5. Open government and open data Stephanie Wojcik

6. Electronic voting Michael Alvarez and Thad Hall

7. Voting Advice Applications Andreas Ladner and Jan Fivaz

6 Contents Index Notes on the Contributors

--> On the publisher's website


Deliberating Environmental Policy Issues by Julien Talpin and Stéphanie Wojcik

Talpin, Julien and Wojcik, Stéphanie (2010) "Deliberating Environmental Policy Issues: Comparing the Learning Potential of Online and Face-To-Face Discussions on Climate Change," Policy & Internet: Vol. 2 : Iss. 2, Article 4.
DOI: 10.2202/1944-2866.1026

To what extent is political participation deepened and enriched by the Internet? Is the Internet more inclusive - especially towards the young - than traditional forms of participation requiring physical contact? Do people learn more by discussing on the Internet - and especially in online political forums - than by deliberating face-to-face? We aim to answer these questions by presenting the results of research based on the observation of a deliberative experience that allowed both online and face-to-face participation, namely the IDEAL-EU project, carried out by the Tuscany (Italy), Catalonia (Spain), and Poitou-Charentes (France) regions. IDEAL-EU was aimed at involving young people - between ages 14 and 30 - to discuss the issue of climate change in order to produce a report to be handed to the President of the European Parliament Commission on Climate Change. It first consisted in online discussion forums, and then in an electronic town meeting organized in the three regions' capitals in November 2008. This town meeting involved both keypad voting and face-to-face discussions in small groups.
The comparison of these two stages of the experience allows evaluation of the respective effects of online and face-to-face political discussions on young participants’ political knowledge. Using content analysis of websites, direct observation of the assembly, and interviews and questionnaires completed by both online and assembly participants, we evaluate the respective effects of these different forms of civic engagement for actors' perceived level of knowledge on climate change and on their political competence more generally.


Electronic Elections: The Perils and Promises of Digital Democracy by R. Michael Alvarez and Thad E. Hall

Alvarez_Hall.gif Princeton University Press, February 2010, 256 p.
ISBN: 978-1-4008-3408-2

Since the 2000 presidential election, the United States has been embroiled in debates about electronic voting. Critics say the new technologies invite tampering and fraud. Advocates say they enhance the accuracy of vote counts and make casting ballots easier and ultimately foster greater political participation. Electronic Elections cuts through the media spin to assess the advantages and risks associated with different ways of casting ballots and shows how e-voting can be the future of American democracy.

Elections by nature are fraught with risk. Michael Alvarez and Thad Hall fully examine the range of past methods and the new technologies that have been created to try to minimize risk and accurately reflect the will of voters. Drawing upon a wealth of new data on how different kinds of electronic voting machines have performed in recent elections nationwide, they evaluate the security issues that have been the subject of so much media attention, and examine the impacts the new computer-based solutions is having on voter participation. Alvarez and Hall explain why the benefits of e-voting can outweigh the challenges, and they argue that media coverage of the new technologies has emphasized their problems while virtually ignoring their enormous potential for empowering more citizens to vote. The authors also offer ways to improve voting technologies and to develop more effective means of implementing and evaluating these systems.

Electronic Elections makes a case for how e-voting can work in the United States, showing why making it work right is essential to the future vibrancy of the democratic process.

R. Michael Alvarez is professor of political science at the California Institute of Technology. Thad E. Hall is associate professor of political science and research fellow at the Institute of Public and International Affairs at the University of Utah. They are the authors of Point, Click, and Vote.

Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: What This Book Is About 1
CHAPTER 2: Paper Problems, Electronic Promises 12
CHAPTER 3: Criticisms of Electronic Voting 30
CHAPTER 4: The Frame Game 50
CHAPTER 5: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back 71
CHAPTER 6: The Performance of the Machines 100
CHAPTER 7: Public Acceptance of Electronic Voting 133
CHAPTER 8: A New Paradigm for Assessing Voting Technologies 156
CHAPTER 9: Conclusion 178


Promises and Limits of Web-deliberation by Raphaël Kies

Palgrave Macmillan, March 2010, 200 p.
ISBN : 978-0-230-61921-0, ISBN10 : 0-230-61921-5

Does the increasing usage of online political forums lead to a more deliberative democracy ? This book answers to this question by presenting the evolution of the public spaces in a historical perspective, by defining and operationalizing the deliberative criteria of democracy, and by measuring and evaluating the impact ofvirtualization of the political debates under threes perspectives. It looks at the extent to which different categories of the population debate online, it looks at the categories of actors hosting online political forum, and it assesses the quality of the online political debates in different contexts. The final aim of this work is to provide a more balanced evaluation of the impact of virtualization of the political debates and to enrich the evolving deliberative theory with new findings.

Table of contents
Deliberative democracy : origins, meaning and major controversies * Deliberative democracy and its operationalization * Extension of the online political debates * Existing findings on deliberativeness of web-debates * Analysis of “radicali italiani” * Online campaign in Issy-les-Moulineaux

Biography of the author
Raphaël Kies is Researcher in Political Science at the University of Luxembourg. He is Co-founder of the E-democracy Center (Switzerland), he is member of the Réseau de Démocratie ELectronique (France) and of the ECPR standing group on Internet&Politics. In Luxembourg he is co-responsible for the national and European electoral studies, and for the introduction of innovative methods of political participation such as the voting advice application smartvote.lu and the European Citizens Consultation. He has published several articles and reports on e-democracy, local democracy, and deliberative democracy.