As voters prepare to hit the polling stations for the presidential election later this month, Pure Telecom announces the results of a Censuswide national survey of Irish adults. It found that 40% of the electorate who said they did not vote in the last election – a total of 461,526 – would definitely have done so if remote electronic voting was available. In total, 52% of eligible voters said they would like to have the option of casting their vote via electronic means or e-voting.
The polling station remains the most popular method of voting, with 59% of the electorate choosing it as a preferred method. However, it is regarded by many (27%) as outdated.
The most popular method of e-voting chosen by eligible voters is online, with 42% saying it should be an option. One-in-five (19%) would like the ability to vote through a mobile app, 13% think texting their vote should be an option and 7% believe they should be able to make their selection using a telephone.
The survey found that 17% of those eligible to vote feel that the current method of polling does not cater to the needs of those unable to travel to polling stations, including members of the electorate who are elderly, less mobile or housebound. Other issues around traditional polling methods include being too time-consuming (14%) and inconvenient (12%).
In terms of communicating to the public in the run-up to elections, door-to-door canvassing was highlighted by 18% as the least preferred method of contact with parties or politicians. Election posters (17%) and contact via telephone (13%) followed as the next most irritating election techniques.
Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom said: “Our research shows that Irish adults are very open to the idea of voting by electronic means. In the digital age, people are used to being able to complete tasks with the touch of a button or screen – so electronic voting appeals to them. It may also help people who are unable to get to their polling station on election day – whether that is for health or travel reasons.
“With the presidential election and a referendum approaching, it is perhaps a good time to consider alternatives to traditional polling methods. We know that young people tend to have a poorer turnout for general elections than older members of the electorate and this needs to be addressed. Exploring how various forms of communications technologies can securely engage young members of the electorate with the democratic process should be considered as a possible means to achieving this.”