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Study Notes

Digital Democracy - Introduction

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, IB

Last updated 6 Oct 2017

‘Digital Democracy’ refers to the various ways by which electronic platforms can engage and secure the wider and more informed participation of the public in the political environment.

Digital democracy might involve the greater use of the internet to gauge public opinion by mini referenda and e-petitions, the use of the internet to activate political debate via social media and online forums, the incorporation of mobile phone or hand-held devices to involve the public in decision making at various levels, and the replacement of traditional voting methods with e-technology solutions.

Proponents argue Digital Democracy could be a solution to a number of contemporary political problems:

  • A more creative approach to voting would help reverse declining turnout at all levels of elections in the UK
  • Higher levels of direct democracy would counterbalance rising frustration at the message-discipline and inaccessibility of our political representatives, who would in turn be better held to account if initiatives and recall could be part of the e-technology revolution.

Of course, such ideas also have their critics, but in answering essay questions about the current status of UK democracy and its potential for positive development it will be relevant to consider these issues and arguments. 

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