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Journal Article

Competent Electronic Participation Channels in Electronic Democracy  pp195-208

Dimitrios Zissis, Dimitrios Lekkas, Anastasia-Evangelia Papadopoulou

© Apr 2009 Volume 7 Issue 2, ECEG 2007, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp123 - 208

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Electronic Democracy is appearing in political agendas across countries and boarders. This paper refers to electronic participation channels implemented to digitalize decision processes in an electronic democracy. Electronic participation includes the sub processes of information acquisition and formation of an opinion. The function of efficient electronic participation in electronic democracy is crucial and indispensable. Electronic Democracy provides citizens with the opportunity to engage efficiently in democratic processes. Current technology can be perceived as an evolution of traditional communication linkages between political representatives and citizens. These can provide an "extensive library" of information and a "meeting point" for political debate. A surplus of existing technologies provides the means to enhance the unidirectional and bidirectional communication paths between citizens and involved political entities. Such a technological deployment though must meet a number of requirements ranging from usability issues to electronic security. An in depth analysis and review of social and technical requirements of such channels is provided in this paper. Solutions are presented which meet previously identified needs and through their comparison the fulfilment of the requirements will be met. This papers objective is to identify the custom design for efficient and competent electronic participation channels in electronic democracy. This goal will be achieved through a comparison of the current technological tools used in e‑participation, called e‑methods. For each one of these e‑methods a SWOT analysis will be provided, listing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, that this particular tool may have. Eventually a comparison is made after the establishment of criteria regarding many aspects such as: security, privacy, accessibility, user's or developer's viewpoints. Proficiently deployed technological infrastructures which enhance the bidirectional communication pathways will lead to engaged and better informed citizens, and evidently to a stronger democracy. Findings of this paper should be considered by parties interested in deploying electronic democracy infrastructures and fellow researchers in the field.


Keywords: e-democracy, e-voting, e-participation, e-methods comparison


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