Monday, October 26, 2009

Is internet voting the future of democracy?

According to an article published in The Australian today (Meade, A 27/10/09, Net role urged for poll messages, <,28124,26258011-7582,00.html>), the vast majority of 18-24 year olds would prefer online voting rather than the current mail-based system for the next referendum.

Currently, the legislation states that all citizens eligible to vote must be sent two 2000 word essay in a pamphlet via post in order to vote in a referendum. In this day and age when the majority of young people think 'homework' whenever they hear the word essay, this is perhaps an ineffective means of communicating with today's youth. Apparently, 47 per cent of people in this age group surveyed stated that they would prefer the information to be delivered via a social networking site such as Facebook. Given that young people are less politically savvy and feel more disconnected from politics than ever before, perhaps we do need to embrace new technology to stay relevant to our future leaders of this country. It is interesting to note that the article states that only 11 per cent of respondents aged over 65 stated that they felt Facebook would be an effective means of communicating referendum information. If this is the case - why not let people choose for themselves? Give people the option of either voting online or by mail and perhaps we will see the tide start to turn and youth participation in politics pick up again. It's worth a try, time will tell...

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