Voter turnout is in free-fall across Europe. From the 1970s to the 2010s, participation in national elections has dropped from 93% to 75% in Italy, from 90% to 71% in Germany, from 81% to 55% in France, and from 77% to 68% in Spain.
Young people in particular are less likely to vote than any other demographic. Despite this, 42% of young Europeans (15-24) say they have expressed political opinions online (some of them hopefully on Debating Europe!), versus an average of 28% for all age groups. Might young people be more likely to vote if it could be done safely and conveniently online?
E-voting is short for “electronic voting”, and it means using machines to count votes instead of the traditional paper ballots. It can also be done remotely, where it is often known as “online voting”, “internet voting”, or simply “remote e-voting”. For this debate, we will mostly be talking about remote e-voting when we use the term “e-vote”.
Estonia is a pioneer when it comes to e-voting. In the 2015 Estonian Parliamentary elections, 31% of voters took part via e-voting, versus a 64% turnout overall. The 2015 turnout level was roughly the same as the previous elections in 2011, but the proportion of people e-voting has increased from 24% in 2011.
Curious to know more about e-voting? We’ve put together some facts and figures about online and electronic voting in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).
As part of our Debating Europe Schools series, we’ve been taking questions from students from across Europe to policy-makers and experts for them to answer. For today’s debate, we had a question sent in from students from the Debating Society of St. George’s International School, Luxembourg.
One of the students from the St. George’s International School in Luxembourg asked about the safety of e-voting. What can be done to prevent fraud when votes are counted electronically? We put this question to David Bismark, an expert on e-voting and voting system designer from Sweden.
Next, we had a comment sent in by Kiril, who hopes that e-voting will lead to more direct democracy in Europe. Would David Bismark agree?
Would you be more likely to vote if you could do it online? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!