Effects of the Internet on Participation: Study of a Public Policy Referendum in Brazil

This paper  by World Bank is about the effects of online voting on voting participation. It is a result of a research done in Brazil. The group of people that have been interviewed consist of the voters that have voted in the annual participatory budgeting vote in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. They have been asked if they still would have voted even if it was not done on the Internet. The results suggest that online voting had a great effect on the mobilization of voters. The research also suggests that sociological aspects of the voters, such as age, gender, income, education, and social media are important in determining their approach towards online voting. This way we can conclude whether sociological voting has effects on

The research also suggests that sociological properties of the voters, such as age, gender, income, education, and social media usage are important in determining their approach towards online voting. This way we can conclude whether sociological voting has effects on voting behaviour of the citizens.

A Three Ballot Based Secure E-Voting

Personal Notes:

Santin, Costa and Maziero have proposed a new model for secure e-voting implementation. This article have been cited by many others and it is published on IEEE Security & Privacy. Their method  guarantees confidentiality, integrity, availability, authenticity and anonimity. It also prevents coercions. Following diagram shows how the system is implemented.

Picture2

Santin, A. O., Costa, R. G., & Maziero, C. A. (2008). A Three-Ballot-Based Secure Electronic Voting System. IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine, 6(3), 14-21. doi:10.1109/msp.2008.56

Article link

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Anthony Downs (1957) has argued that voter are very rational, and they need to maximize the utility of the act of voting. He formulized this idea as following:

People vote if: (P*B) – C > 0

P: Probability of getting benefit

B: Benefit

C: Cost

This formulization is important for our project, for the reason that it helps explaining why voters tend to vote by the model of rational choice when it is in the context of online voting.

  • Downs, A. (1957). An economic theory of democracy. New York: Harper.

Voting Models

There are 3 models of voting outlined by Harrop and Miller in their book Elections and Voters: sociological theory, psychological theory (party identification) and rational choice (pragmatist voting).

The sociological model focuses on electoral behaviour that can be explained by social properties including social background, education, age, gender.

Psychological model or party identification is a concept which refers to an individuals sense of self, identification with another group without any questioning of the choice during the process.

Finally, Rational Choice is based on assumption that citizens act rationally and aim to maximise utilities by conducting cost-benefit assessments.

From a personal perspective, online voting could appeal to voters by the means of rational choice, as it saves the voter from the costs that traditional voting brings.