Online Voting in Indigenous Communities: Lessons from Canada

  • Nicole GoodmanEmail author
  • Chelsea Gabel
  • Brian Budd
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11143)


Most studies of online voting examine adoption at national and subnational levels or among municipal governments. Very few examinations, however, focus on implementation in Indigenous communities. Drawing on community-engaged survey work with three First Nations in Canada – Tsuut’ina Nation, Wasauksing First Nation and Whitefish River First Nation, 27 interviews with Indigenous leaders, identified experts, online voting vendors and federal government representatives as well as a focus group, we examine why Indigenous communities in Canada are drawn to online voting, who is using it, potential impacts on participation, and good practices that can be learnt from these experiences. Our findings suggest broad support for online voting and satisfaction from Indigenous voters. Though online voters tend to be older, educated, wealthier and live off reserve, survey results indicate online ballots could engage some Indigenous electors to vote more frequently. Notably, we find that online voting is a critical tool to reach and engage off reserve citizens. Finally, we outline a number of good practices for online voting deployment that fall into four themes: (1) community knowledge and engagement (2) tools and strategies, (3) clear processes and resources, and (4) a focus on technology.


Online voting First Nations Canada Community-engaged research 



The authors would like to extend sincere thanks to Tsuut’ina Nation, Wasauksing First Nation, and Whitefish River First Nation as well as the many experts who participated in interviews. We acknowledge financial support from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Government of Canada, and Chelsea Gabel’s Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well- Being, Community, Engagement and Innovation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  2. 2.Department of Health, Aging and Society and Indigenous Studies ProgramMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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