For and against digital democracy

For and against digital democracy


  • Easier participation - citizens can express their views without leaving home, which is especially important for the disabled. This will have a positive impact on turnout and therefore political education.
  • Access to information - new technology widens the citizens' access to information, making specialist information available to the people instead of just the government. E-democracy would create a genuine two-way democratic process, where citizens are active participants rather than passive recipients.
  • Ease of organisation - the time, effort and resources used in physical referendums could be saved by the use of online referendums, which would be cheaper, easier to hold and would be able to be held more frequently.
  • Power to the people - new technology has helped the developments of social movements, and has increased their effectiveness and reach. This has given rise to a new style of decentralised and non-hierarchical politics.


  • Electoral malpractice - scrutiny and control over the democratic process becomes vulnerable to corruption or hacks. Physical voting allows the secret ballot and one person one vote rule to be properly policed.
  • 'Virtual' democracy - e-democracy may turn democratic processes into a series of push-button decisions rather than a public experience concerning the greater good of society. E-democracy creates the risk of making democratic citizenship into a series of consumer choices.
  • Digital divide - access to new technology and information is not universal, so using e-democracy would give rise to a pattern of inequality based on the 'information rich' and the 'information poor'.
  • Anti-democratic forces - hate groups spreading racial and religious intolerance, or political extremism, may exploit new technology and spread their own messages.
  • Echo chamber - the personalised dimension of social media has already given rise to a polarised political landscape, as people are no longer exposed to views that contradict their own.


Digital democracy would reduce some of the labour and financial costs of democratic processes, however it could carry damaging implications for democracy by distancing people from their political decisions and also from opposing political views. 


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