A VIRTUAL INEVITABILITY?: RECONCEPTUALISING THE INTERNET VOTING DEBATE WITH EVIDENCE FROM CANADA AND ABROAD
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The Internet is changing democracy in many important ways. Though governments have proven willing to leverage technology for service delivery in many instances, perhaps the most important democratic act – the casting of ballots during an election – has remained largely unchanged since the mid 19th-century. Trivial to most regular voters, the requirement to cast a paper ballot at a brick-and-mortar polling location may not only disenfranchise those who face barriers of physical access, but also, is demonstrated to introduce a variety of perceived costs to irregular, inexperienced, first- time-eligible, and youth electors, which may be limiting overall participation. This paper tests claims of Internet voting proponents, including those of increased turnout, and greater voting-habit formation. It weighs these against the noted risks, particularly to security and trust. A synthesis of a variety of literatures demonstrates that there are reasonable grounds for optimism with regards to the implementation of Internet voting.