Will New Technology Boost Turnout? Evaluating Experiments in UK Local Elections

  • Pippa Norris


As access to the new communication and information technologies have diffused throughout post-industrial societies, the idea of using electronic tools to modernize electoral administration has been widely debated, with potential benefits of greater efficiency, speed and accuracy (for further details see Norris 2001a, 2002a, 2004). Perhaps the most important and influential argument concerns the claim that remote electronic voting will make the process more convenient and thereby strengthen electoral turnout and civic engagement, especially for the wired younger generation (see Stratford and Stratford 2001; Borgers 2001). If citizens will not come to the polls, it is argued, why not bring the polls closer to citizens? In Britain, after all, like horse-hair wigs on the judiciary, and men-in-tights in the House of Lords, the traditional method of expressing voting preferences by writing crosses on ballots, depositing them in black boxes in local polling stations, then counting the piles of paper in public halls, has essentially not changed since the 1888 Secret Ballot Act.


Civic Engagement Voter Turnout Party System Local Election Electoral Participation 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004

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  • Pippa Norris

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