In a recent interview, US President Barack Obama argued in favour of the introduction of online elections. In Germany, too, more and more politicians are expressing their support for voting online. This article will provide you with a brief overview of the political discussion.
Obama: Online voting is given high priority
In an interview with the tech-business magazine Fast Company, Obama recently declared that the development and introduction of online voting must be given absolute priority. In his opinion, technology should assist in shaping policy and facilitate the opportunity to vote. Governments, he said, must ask themselves how new technology can improve “the experience of democracy”.
“And I think the opportunities for us to think about how tech can empower citizens and make them feel ownership for their government is really important.”
Voting with the click of a mouse is coming
In Germany as well, more politicians are expressing support for the opportunity to vote online. For instance, as early as 2013 Torsten Albig (SPD) encouraged the introduction of online voting for municipal elections in Schleswig-Holstein. In southern Germany early last year, Bavarian State Minister Markus Söder planned to implement online elections in Bavaria. Also last year the party whip of the SPD Bundestag faction said in an interview with Spiegel Online:
“Voting with the click of a mouse is coming” (Thomas Oppermann)
The general secretaries of all major parties in the Bundestag are discussing how to counteract the sinking rate of voter participation. The four topic groups of “voter participation”, “right to vote”, “participation” and “political culture” are on the agenda. In relation to decreasing voter participation, the General Secretary of the FDP, Simone Beer, has also spoken in favour of voting online.
Movement in Great Britain
A look at the British Isles shows that the discussion about voting online has already progressed much further in other large European democracies: Polls regularly show that the British want to vote online and David Cameron himself has said that he has no reservations about the implementation of online elections. The British Labour representative and candidate for the mayor’s office in London, Sadiq Khan, explicitly expressed his support for the introduction of online elections in Great Britain on Twitter this past July:
“It’s time we looked at introducing online voting. Poll shows many Londoners are in favour.” (Sadiq Khan)