Most, if not all, local, national and international decisions should be made by UK Citizens collectively through online voting.
My field is media and communication, social media as culture, and policymaking. There is vast evidence of political discussion existent on social media platforms, take for instance recent ‘Trending Topics’ on the platform Twitter. Controversial hashtags such as #WhyImNotVotingUKIP, I’m hesitant to use too much ‘digital-lingo,’ however it is undeniable that in today’s technology-based climate a digital approach needs to be catered for.
I think the issue is the constant notion that we are not yet ready for digital democracy, for change – but when have we ever been ready for change?
Digital technology is constantly changing, its power and effect are an ongoing development – leaving the implementation of digital democracy for three to five years into the future means that we’ll most likely be having the discussion as to why we didn’t embrace digital democracy sooner. The discussion of politics in an online climate isn’t going to stop just because digital voting is not executed. The interactions of voters will continue, and even rise – in 2009 political topics was only 7% of the activity and discussions on Twitter, now, in the last week alone 3 of the most popular topics discussed have been UK-based political discussions.
#WhyImNotVotingUKIP #WeBackEd and #CameronMustGo.
Bringing my argument back from social media to the question at hand – I am not condoning remote digital voting, I argue that offering the facilities for digital voting in places such as libraries, or universities, may appeal more to different social groups. Starting at a local level, introducing, engaging and facilitating to public expectations will undoubtedly influence voter interaction – utilising platforms that are already promoting collective political engagement such as social media to promote digital voting.
If the argument of engaging voters, or reengaging, voters is a prominent discussion then why is parliament hesitant to cater to the needs of those it is targeting? There is this stigma that a high number of citizens are not engaged with politics – I divert you back to Twitter.
Politics needs to co-operate, and represent its constituents, this means engaging with the tools we use. There appears to be an unanimous outrage that online voting will disrupt democracy, that it will lead to identity-chaos – to this I raise the issue of vote-selling something which happens in an offline world. As technology develops, existing arguments develop.
Democracy remains at the forefront of my debate – digital tools can enhance engagement for local; and even national decision-making. Online voting is just one, and the most current – dominant – ways this can be done.
There will always be controversy – that is politics. There will always be problems, and points to discuss – that is politics. But if we are to represent everyone then as a country, as a local MP, as a collective we need to stop ignoring the popular, commonplace, ways to communicate with those whom fall under our constituencies and cater to the changing environment.