Making Informed Citizens in Local Direct Democracy. What Part Does Their Government Perform?
- Werner PleschbergerAffiliated withUniversity of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Email author
This chapter has two main parts. First, it starts with a short presentation of the well-established theorem of the uninformed voter, and argues that local direct democracy inhibits systemic incentives for a voter to become more open for information, and for a local government to inform the voter. Due to the information asymmetry, local government is required to actively make the local voter better informed to decide competently on a ballot measure. Local government further has to adopt practical standards to fulfill the task, such as appropriate length, comprehensiveness, objectivity, and political neutrality of voter information. Second, this chapter describes three cases of official local voter information, how they are regulated by law and work in practice. The poor regulation and practice of voter information of the City of Vienna gives the party politics and public officials a very free hand to manipulate the task of informing the voter in their own interests. The Austrian City of Bregenz represents a moderate example, whereas the City of Los Angeles has the merit of a high developed approach of voter information. In all cases, the politicization of voter information is ever present. The gap between practical standards and the real information environment can preclude voters making informed decisions at the polls and indirectly through that also on urban governance.
KeywordsLocal government Local direct democracy Voter information Urban governance Austria USA
- Making Informed Citizens in Local Direct Democracy. What Part Does Their Government Perform?
- Book Title
- Local Government and Urban Governance in Europe
- Book Part
- Part III
- pp 233-259
- Print ISBN
- Online ISBN
- Series Title
- The Urban Book Series
- Series ISSN
- Springer International Publishing
- Copyright Holder
- Springer International Publishing Switzerland
- Additional Links
- Local government
- Local direct democracy
- Voter information
- Urban governance
- eBook Packages
- Editor Affiliations
- 1. Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, Universidade de Lisboa
- 2. Dept Human Geography & Demography, Comenius University
- Author Affiliations
- 3. University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
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