Canadians Cool with Voting Online

24 March 2004

A recent Delvinia Interactive study on online voting in Canada provides detailed insights into who is voting online and why they do so.

Among over 3,600 online voters surveyed, the overwhelming majority cited convenience as the reason they chose to vote online. The next response, select ed by nearly one-third of online voters, was “wanted to try something new.” This insight could help other municipalities and regions plan how to market online voting initiatives, as stressing convenience alone may singularly persuade many voters to avoid the lines at the polling places.

Delvinia produced its report, “Internet Voting and Canadian e-Democracy in Practice,” in conjunction with research partner Millward Brown Goldfarb and the town of Markham, located just north of Toronto in Ontario. In Markham, there are 158,000 registered voters, and 11,700 registered to vote online. On Election Day in 2003, 7,210 voters cast their ballots online, amounting to 17% of the overall voter turnout of 42,198.

Just about everyone who voted online was somewhat or very satisfied with the process, and these results held up along gender and age lines. While word of mouth was not a major factor in the 2003 elections (as shown in the chart above), it may very well have more of an impact next time.

In the United States, where several online voting experiments have been conducted in local districts and even statewide primaries, voters turn to candidates’ Web sites for information, according to an Online Publishers Association/University of Connecticut study found in eMarketer’s eStat Database. While candidates’ sites help voters and non-voters alike in determining politicians’ positions, other popular actions people take are signing up for e-newsletters, watching videos and entering chat rooms.

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