These papers have been produced based on research carried out as part of this project. They will soon be submitted for publication, are forthcoming, or published.
Internet Voting in Ontario: Time for Overarching Standards
Nicole Goodman and Nicole Wellsbury
This article focuses on the lack of provincial policies and standards surrounding internet voting use in local elections by specifically examining developments in the province of Ontario. We argue that the province should take leadership in developing legal, technical, and operational standards in cooperation with municipalities and that now is an ideal time to do so. Standards should be prescriptive enough to provide a sound framework, but sufficiently open to continue to allow local election authorities autonomy in defining policies, particularly in certain operational areas. We present some ideas as to what these standards might look like and suggest they will add value and create consistency in election delivery.
Published in Public Sector Digest, November 2015 Paper here
Internet Voting and Voter Turnout: An Empirical Examination of Local Elections in Ontario, Canada
Nicole J. Goodman and Leah C. Stokes
Does internet voting impact voter turnout? This working paper uses two original panel data sets from Ontario municipal elections to answer this question.
The Patchwork of Internet Voting in Canada
Nicole J. Goodman and Jon H. Pammett
Internet voting developments in Canada are growing quickly, with activity focused in local elections, political party leadership votes and unions. In some instances, the federal structure of the Canadian state facilitates internet voting use, while in others it inhibits it. The result of this system of divided jurisdiction is that internet voting use in Canada resembles a patchwork, showing strong concentration in some areas and no penetration in other places. In addition to scattered geographic use, a variety of approaches to implementation are employed. In some cases online ballots are complementary to paper, while in others elections are now fully electronic. I-voting can be a two-step process requiring registration or a more direct one-step voting procedure. Likewise, internet voting is offered in the advance portion of certain elections, whereas in others it is available for the full voting period. Finally, given that private companies administer the internet voting portion of elections there is also a mixture of technology.
Published in the Ten-Year Anniversary Conference EVOTE 2014: Verifying the Vote, Proceedings Paper here
Policy Priorities of Municipal Candidates in the 2014 Local Ontario Elections
Nicole J. Goodman and Jack Lucas
This paper reports the results of a survey on the policy priorities of municipal candidates in the 2014 municipal elections in Ontario. As part of a survey of municipal candidates in 47 Ontario municipalities, we asked a series of questions relating to perceived policy priorities, election issues, and electoral success to shed light on the extent to which municipal political candidates are “policy seekers”, and the extent to which their policy priorities vary across municipalities and municipal types, successful and unsuccessful candidates, and urban and rural candidates. We find that reported policy priorities tend to fall into two major categories: fiscal issues and economic development or administration and good governance. The prominence of these fiscal and procedural priorities is steady across a range of local candidate types, including successful and unsuccessful candidates, incumbent and non-incumbent candidates, and even urban and rural candidates. Only in very large municipalities, according to our findings, does the structure of candidate priorities begin to diverge from this standard emphasis on finance and procedure.
Who Votes by Internet? An Analysis of Internet and Paper Voters in the 2014 Ontario Municipal Elections
Nicole J. Goodman
Who votes by internet? And, how does the profile of an internet voter differ from those who vote in-person by paper ballot? More specifically, does the option of internet voting encourage certain electors to participate electorally, such as young people, members of under-represented groups, or those who identify as infrequent or non-voters? This paper examines these questions by drawing on unique data sets of internet and paper voters obtained during the 2014 Ontario municipal elections. Specifically, it provides an analysis of the types of electors inclined to vote by internet and paper, their voting histories, the likelihood of participation had online voting not been an option, and their political attitudes.
Bringing the Non-voters in: Voting Experiments of Internet Voting in Canada
One of the primary rationales reported by governments for adopting Internet voting is the lure of increased turnout (Pammett and Goodman, 2013). This is seen as particularly important given declines of electoral participation in recent decades. Though many have strong opinions regarding the impact of Internet voting on turnout, studies to date produce mixed effects on whether it truly has a positive impact (Belanger and Carter, 2010; Bochsler, 2010; Trecshel et al., 2010). While Internet voting is likely not a panacea for the problem of voter decline, some studies provide evidence that Internet ballots can encourage a modest proportion of non-voters and infrequent voters to take part electorally (Chevailler, 2009; Goodman, 2014; Trecshel et al., 2010). Promise of bringing non-voters into the voting process and establishing a firmer intention to vote from those electors who can be considered infrequent voters can have modest, positive effects on turnout. Drawing on a decade of binding elections using Internet ballots at the local level in Canada this paper tests the hypothesis that Internet voting is a structural change that draws less committed voters into the electoral process. The paper discusses the implications of this for the future of Internet voting programmes and democratic renewal as part of a larger shift toward e-democracy.