Our research and commentary on technology policy issues have been featured across media outlets in the UK and abroad. Examples of this coverage can be found below. For media requests, please send an email to email@example.com.
New Statesman: The Met Police didn’t check if facial recognition tech was racist before trialling it
In a report that argues for a “generational ban” on facial recognition technology, WebRoots Democracy finds that it’s likely facial recognition technology will be used disproportionately against Muslims and communities of colour, that it’s likely to bolster calls for a veil ban in the UK, and exert a “chilling effect” on political protest.
BBC Radio Stoke: Face recognition technology under scrutiny
There is a racial bias in the design and deployment of face recognition technology according to a report by WebRoots Democracy.
Sky News: Exam algorithm: Mutant or mistake?
WebRoots Democracy director, Areeq Chowdhury, spoke with Sky News about the challenges of using decision-making algorithms in public services.
“By its very nature, being a minority can often mean growing up feeling alone or out of place in society,” says Areeq Chowdhury, director of WebRoots Democracy, a think tank focused on inclusive technology policy. “One of the beautiful things about the internet is that it has transformed this entirely.”
Following Twitter’s decision to label Donald Trump’s tweets as misleading, Tortoise held a panel discussion to explore the implications of the decision. WebRoots Democracy director Areeq Chowdhury joined Dr Claire Wardle and Rebecca Mackinnon to discuss.
Areeq Chowdhury spoke with LBC’s Nick Ferrari about the UK Government’s decision to adopt the Google-Apple system for their COVID-19 contact tracing app.
Computer Weekly: AI bias and privacy issues require more than clever tech
Areeq Chowdhury spoke with talkRADIO’s John Nicolson about Twitter’s decision to label and hide tweets posted by US President, Donald Trump.
Democratic Audit: Online voting can work, but only if we design systems that voters can have confidence in
Could online voting be used to ensure elections continue during the Covid-19 pandemic? Areeq Chowdhury sets out some key principles of accessibility, security and user experience which should form the basis of any internet voting system if it is to elicit public confidence.
PoliticsHome: Number 10 says May’s local elections will go ahead despite watchdog calling for suspension
The think tank WebRoots Democracy is predicting up to two million voters will stay at home on polling day, dropping turnouts to as low as 21%.
Sbunker: Mania për me kritikue
A report released in October 2018 by the London-based WebRoots Democracy institute on the online abuse of political debate finds that social media is becoming a hostile environment for those who express political opinions. WebRoots Democracy says governments and individuals using social media should be held accountable for combating online abuse.
“Given how technology is being used in so many different applications for voters with various disabilities, whether it’s navigation or anything else, it makes sense to look at technology as a way to reform voting in the same way,” says Areeq Chowdhury, founder of WebRoots Democracy. “So, I see it as quite a good, necessary solution. It shouldn’t really be something that we just think is nice to have, it’s necessary.”
Online voting would widen access to elections to voters with disabilities and vision impairments, argues Areeq Chowdhury in this piece for the New Statesman.
The Guardian: To end online harms, we must address misogyny
Maya Fryer from WebRoots Democracy signs an open letter on online harms and misogyny, along with MPs and activists.
The Telegraph: Rating your boss: Why Glassdoor is beset with problems
In fact the reviews are “arguably more damaging than some of the abuse you see on Facebook and Twitter”, says Areeq Chowdhury, from think tank WebRoots Democracy. “These companies need a lot more scrutiny. I don’t think they’ve been on the radar of policymakers.”
Areeq Chowdhury, the chief executive of digital think tank WebRoots Democracy, told Sky News: “Light-touch regulation will do nothing to prevent the spread of online harms and we, therefore, welcome the steps set out by the government today in its white paper. In particular, the ability to suspend websites which fail to take sufficient action is one which would be necessary for any new regulator.”
Computing: ‘Upgrade’ elections with online voting, says cryptography expert behind Switzerland’s e-voting system
Galindo remains a passionate advocate of online voting as a way of including disenfranchised and excluded voters who often bear the brunt of government policy and is an advisor contributor to the think tank WebRoots Democracy which campaigns for the better use of technology in democratic representation.
Talking With Alice About Tech Sh*t: Should internet access be a human right?
Are we at a stage where access to the internet should be a human right? Join Alice Thwaite, Vidushi Marta (Article 19) and Areeq Chowdhury (WebRoots Democracy) to talk about human rights.
Digital Leaders: Introducing a duty of care for social media
A number of recent reports from organisations such as doteveryone, Tony Blair Global Institute and WebRoots Democracy have put forward different regulatory proposals to rein in the power of tech giants, reduce online harms and deliver greater protection for individuals.
Radio Free Europe: Forget about civil discourse, my keyboard is outraged
An October 2018 report by the London-based think tank WebRoots Democracy about online abuse in political debate concluded that social media is becoming a hostile environment for those who express political opinions. In particular, the report said, women and minorities are often subjected to “a toxic level of abuse which focuses on their identities” when they engage in political conversations online.
Fabian Society: Antisocial media
To defeat online abuse once and for all, Areeq Chowdhury and Tess Woolfenden ask whether we should suspend social media platforms.
Chatham House: Online voting: Fantasy or future?
Online voting could increase accessibility and lead to greater participation, argues Areeq Chowdhury in this piece for Chatham House’s Commission on Democracy and Technology.
Ctrl Alt Delete: Should we be able to vote online?
Emma Gannon talks to Areeq Chowdhury about the potential benefits and challenges of remote online voting for the Ctrl Alt Delete podcast.
Areeq Chowdhury discusses the rise of online abuse and the findings of the Kinder, Gentler Politics report with Ian Payne from LBC.
A report published this month by the thinktank WebRoots Democracy looked at ways to turn the tide against the “sewer of hate speech and abusive content” found online. One of the suggestions was for online antisocial behaviour orders, whereby people who persistently abuse politicians would be banned from Twitter or Facebook for a short period and added to an online abuser register.
The Telegraph: It shouldn’t be up to tech giants to police hate speech, but they must contribute to the cost
Areeq Chowdhury from WebRoots Democracy writes an op-ed for The Telegraph making the case for the introduction of a ‘Civil Internet Tax’ to combat the rise of online abuse.
A new report by the thinktank WebRoots Democracy published in parliament this week will outline measures to turn the tide against the “sewer of hate speech and abusive content” found online. One suggestion is for online antisocial behaviour orders, where people who persistently abuse politicians would be banned from Twitter or Facebook for a short period and added to an online abuser register.
BBC Asian Network: Interview on online abuse and cyber-bullying
Areeq Chowdhury discusses the rise of online abuse in political debate with Mobeen Azhar from BBC Asian Network.
Areeq Chowdhury, the chief executive of the WebRoots Democracy think tank, has advocated the use of technology to drive inclusion when people go to the polls. “It is deeply disappointing that despite asking voters with disabilities to tell them how to make elections accessible, the government has chosen to not even consider the potential of online voting, a reform called by many of the respondents to the consultation,” said Mr Chowdhury.
Areeq Chowdhury from WebRoots Democracy writes for LabourList about Labour’s plans to introduce a publicly-owned social media platform.
The Raconteur: How electronic voting can boost democracy
Areeq Chowdhury, chief executive of the youth-focused think tank WebRoots Democracy, believes internet voting could help boost the number of young people taking part in elections and modernise the way we run them.
Hankook Ilbo: The combination of technology and politics is destined
South Korean daily newspaper, Hankook Ilbo, interviews Areeq Chowdhury about the potential of blockchain for elections and WebRoots Democracy’s Cratos Project.
Areeq Chowdhury, who works for a think tank called WebRoots Democracy believes “pseudo-nimity”, like you find on Facebook business pages, could help on these platforms. Pseudo-nimity would mean anyone using social media providing proof of who they are, even if they go on to be anonymous on their profile. “What that might do is dis-incentivise people to behave in a way they just wouldn’t in real life,” he says.
London Evening Standard: Electoral Commission needs teeth to protect democracy
Open letter co-signed by WebRoots Democracy and others calling for the Electoral Commission to be given more powers.
WikiTribune: Why aren’t we all voting online?
Areeq Chowdhury, founder of youth-led think tank WebRoots Democracy, told WikiTribune “there’s no such thing as a 100 percent secure system offline or online.”
Recently, WebRoots Democracy hosted a panel discussion, Vote.Scot, at the Scottish Parliament to explore the future of electronic voting (e-voting) in Scotland. The panel raised concerns, issues and the possible benefits of Scotland adopting e-voting. It attempted to establish key barriers and measures requiring attention before e-voting trials are rolled-out.
BBC Asian Network: Interview on Intersectional Suffrage
Fahmida Rahman talks with BBC Asian Network’s Mobeen Azhar about intersectional suffrage.
Google Arts and Culture: Intersectional Suffrage: The Women Who Didn’t Get The Vote In 1918
Only 40% of British women actually won the right to vote in 1918. Who were the women who missed out and, 100 years on, how universal is suffrage today? WebRoots Democracy’s Fahmida Rahman explores.
Civil Society Futures: Unilateral social responsibility from tech companies: enhancing democracy or benevolent dictatorship?
Even as a self-described ‘techno-optimist’ Chowdhury is wary about some of the problems being raised by technology’s rise in social and political life. Yet he questions to what extent they are new issues, as opposed to familiar problems in another setting.
Chief executive of the WebRoots Democracy think tank, Areeq Chowdhury has proposed the introduction of voting through a secured website. He said: “Online voting would be more convenient for the majority of the population, particularly citizens abroad and those serving in the Armed Forces.”
Areeq Chowdhury, the chief executive of the WebRoots Democracy think tank, has advocated the use of technology to drive inclusion when people go to the polls: “Many voters with motor disabilities, vision impairments, and cognitive disabilities will struggle to cast a ballot without the aid of another. Some may not be as fortunate to have a significant other, or a carer to help them do so.”
Chief Executive at WebRoots Democracy, Areeq Chowdhury told DIGIT: “We are pleased that the Scottish Government has decided to explore this reform. Online voting will, in future, form an inevitable part of our democracy and it is right that we begin to understand how best this should work at the earliest opportunity.”
Areeq Chowdhury, the chief executive of youth-led think tank WebRoots Democracy has identified an eerie premonition of this week’s hearings in The Simpsons.
The signatories, led by the think tank WebRoots Democracy, suggest online voting would make elections “more efficient, more accessible and more engaging”. Signatories to the letter include leading academics in cyber security and political science and the heads of charities including Disability Equality Scotland and the Army Families Federation.
Dawn Butler, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, spoke to a packed audience of young people at WebRoots Democracy’s Intersectional Suffrage event in parliament this week. The Intersectional Suffrage event was held following on from the centenary of some women being given the right to vote in 1918, but focused on the women that didn’t get the vote.
The chief executive of youth-led think-tank WebRoots Democracy, Areeq Chowdhury, told Sky News he was “delighted” at the announcement. He added: “Online voting has huge potential to engage a new generation of young voters in Wales, as well as enable voters with vision impairments and disabilities to independently cast ballots. Now that both the Welsh and Scottish Governments have committed to pilots, it is time for the UK Government to follow suit.”
WebRoots Democracy, a youth-led digital democracy think tank, which has called for online voting since 2014, said it was delighted the Welsh Government has decided to back pilots of online voting.
Liquid democracy is an interesting idea, and the idea of giving everyone the power to vote on everything in the palm of their hands is a powerful one. In theory, it could lead to a system where everyone’s views are meaningfully listened to and acted upon, with the will of the majority truly represented.
BBC Newsnight: Do politicians know the electorate?
John Sweeney went to Canvey Island to ask the views of residents, while Emily Maitlis discusses the report findings with Sophie Gaston, acting director of think tank Demos, along with Danny Lockwood, publisher of West Yorkshire’s The Press newspaper and Areeq Chowdhury, chief executive of WebRoots Democracy, a digital democracy organisation.
Daily Express: Newsnight: ‘It is horrific’ I would be judged for flying England flag, BBC guest bemoans
WebRoots Democracy chief executive Areeq Chowdhury said: “So we should address the issue which is that people have taken that flag and turned it into meaning something that to some people seems racist and that is the real issue.
Areeq Chowdhury, chief executive of the Institute for Digital Democracy, said while voter turnout among young people had increased, “we shouldn’t kid ourselves about how much further we need to go.”
BBC Radio Jersey: Interview on online voting for the States of Jersey
Sara Palmer from BBC Radio Jersey talks to Areeq Chowdhury from WebRoots Democracy, after a survey finds 77% of young people would be more likely to vote if they could do so online.
The comments come after Mr Jones spoke out in favour of a report by WebRoots Democracy, which looks at how to encourage young people to engage with politics, during an elections event in Parliament.
BBC News piece on the pros and cons of online voting following the publication of the WebRoots Democracy ‘Cost of Voting’ report which found that voting online would be the most preferred method for young people.
Media Diversified: It’s time to reimagine our dated democracy and let people vote online
In an era where coins have been replaced by cash, cash has been replaced with cards, and cards have been replaced by contactless smartphone payments, shouldn’t we be aiming to be a little more innovative? Clinging to the status quo will only maintain a failing system and ensure we relinquish our title as the pioneers of modern democracy.
Liberal Democrat MP, and WebRoots Democracy Political Ambassador, Tom Brake, writes for the Huffington Post about online voting following the publication of the Cost of Voting report.
A think tank has suggested that online voting in elections should be trialled for British military staff based overseas. A report by the youth-led WebRoots Democracy says members of the armed forces face difficulties registering to vote and an unreliable postal system when attempting cast their ballot.
Online voting in elections should be trialled for British military staff based overseas, a think tank has said. A report by the youth-led WebRoots Democracy says members of the armed forces face hurdles when it comes to voting, such as an unreliable postal voting system and difficulties in registering to vote.
BBC Radio Wales: Interview on online voting for Wales
BBC Radio Wales interview with Areeq Chowdhury about the Welsh Government’s plans to consult on online voting and WebRoots Democracy’s report, Military Voting.
Clive Bull from LBC interviews Areeq Chowdhury about the Welsh Government’s plans to consult on the introduction of online voting in elections.
IDG Connect: Online voting presents cybersecurity conundrum
Unsurprisingly, there’s evidence to suggest electronic voting increases voter participation. WebRoots Democracy claims an online vote would increase the turnout of 18 to 24-year-olds to 70 per cent. The critical thing to remember is to ensure any new method is secure, and makes electoral fraud harder, if not impossible, to achieve.
BBC Breakfast piece on the need for online voting for voters with vision impairments and disabilities, broadcast on UK General Election day 2017.
The Guardian: Democracy? There’s an app for that – the tech upstarts trying to ‘hack’ British politics
Across the desk, Areeq Chowdhury, 24, is working single-handedly on WebRoots Democracy, which started as a campaign for online voting but has evolved into a thinktank “covering the use of personal data, fake news, e-petitions, voter advice applications”.
Prospect Magazine: Online voting could increase youth turnout – so it’s unlikely the Tories will introduce it
Another option is online voting. The UK Electoral Commission has run trials in the past and found that it had a positive effect, and advocacy organisation WebRoots Democracy claims it could significantly boost youth turnout.
How much easier would it be to vote online rather than getting up for work extra early, queuing through your lunch hour or adding to your commute home? WebRoots Democracy, says online voting could increase the turnout of 18 to 24-year-olds by up to 70 per cent, and the overall turnout would increase by up to 79 per cent.
The young, in particular, are used to conducting their lives online, and this demographic often has the lowest turnout. WebRoots Democracy claims an online vote would increase the turnout of 18 to 24-year-olds to 70 per cent.
Digital democracy think-tank WebRoots Democracy, which has teamed up with RSBC to raise awareness of the issue, says the digital technology already exists to run online voting.
Third Force News: Visually impaired denied right to vote in secret
The Royal Society for Blind Children and think-tank WebRoots Democracy have called on politicians to ensure the right to vote anonymously is extended to every British citizen, including those with disabilities.
Areeq Chowdhury from WebRoots Democracy coins a new phrase for the digital era’s political activism: clicktivism. He said: “We can now easily find out information on what is happening in the political world from a multitude of sources, and we can share that information with hundreds of friends or thousands of followers with the click of a button.”
Voting Counts: The Rules of Engagement Podcast – Episode 1: Online Voting
In this first episode, we speak to Areeq from WebRoots Democracy, a campaign to introduce online voting in national UK elections.
As Areeq Chowdhury, chief executive of WebRoots Democracy, a campaign for digital voting, said last night, the government has no incentive to open up or change a system that’s working in its favour.
Huffington Post: We Need To Address “Voter Apathy”
Undoubtedly, millions again will not vote on June the 8th. Maybe it will be 10, 15, or even 20 million this time. How far must turnout fall before we decide to take action? There needs to be a political awakening and a democratic drive by the next Government to undo this decline.
The Guardian: Local elections point up UK’s democratic crisis
A letter by WebRoots Democracy Chief Executive, Areeq Chowdhury, following poor voter turnouts in the 2017 English Mayoral elections.
Areeq Chowdhury from WebRoots Democracy discusses the potential for online voting in elections, as BBC Click explore Smartmatic’s new voting app which verifies voter identity using facial recognition.
Areeq Chowdhury from youth-focused think tank WebRoots Democracy tells Newsbeat the electoral system is ‘backwards’.
Design is Political: WebRoots Democracy wants to bring voting online
The Institute of Digital Democracy, more commonly known as WebRoots Democracy, is a volunteer-led think tank focused on the intersection of technology and democratic participation. In short, the organisation feels it is high time that the democratic process is available through digital platforms and, crucially, that voters should be able to cast their vote online during elections.
According to a recent report by WebRoots Democracy, “there appears to have been very little, if any, progress made towards tackling internet abuse of politicians, despite mass interest in doing so.” The youth-led think tank has urged the government to create a digital democracy “czar”, to lead on the government’s response to issues such as fake news and internet trolling.
Areeq Chowdhury, chief executive of WebRoots Democracy, which campaigns for electronic voting, said: “There is no evidence to show that online voting is more susceptible to fraud than the paper alternative.”
Areeq Chowdhury, chief executive of WebRoots Democracy, which campaigns for electronic voting, said: ‘There is no evidence to show that online voting is more susceptible to fraud than the paper alternative.’ He added: ‘The Speaker’s Commission was right to recommend the introduction of online voting, as was the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee.’
International Business Times: Former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers warns electronic voting in UK would leave elections at risk of hacking
WebRoots Democracy believes that digital voting should be introduced in the UK. In a statement issued on Tuesday, it said there was “no evidence” to show online voting is more vulnerable to fraud than the paper alternative.
Areeq Chowdhury, head of the WebRoots Democracy campaign for electronic balloting, told the BBC that there is “no evidence to show that online voting is more susceptible to fraud than the paper alternative.” “There have been more instances of fraud across the world with paper votes than electronic ones, and the recent recounts of electronic votes in the US showed no evidence of hacking,” he added.
The Independent: Online voting could leave British elections vulnerable to hacking, former MI6 head warns
Areeq Chowdhury, chief executive of WebRoots Democracy, said voter engagement would “only falter and decline” without online voting and dismissed Sir John’s claim. “There is no evidence to show that online voting is more susceptible to fraud than the paper alternative,” he said.
Areeq Chowdhury, chief executive of WebRoots Democracy, which campaigns for electronic voting, said: “There is no evidence to show that online voting is more susceptible to fraud than the paper alternative.”
The Guardian: ID cards and wider issues of voter engagement
A letter written by IDD Chief Executive Areeq Chowdhury is published in the Guardian in response to the Government’s announcement to introduce identity checks at polling stations.
Huffington Post: London is Headed Towards Democratic Dysfunction in 2020
With all of the new challenges online voting presents, it would equally open up a whole realm of opportunity. Opportunity to resign issues like ‘accidentally spoilt ballots’ to the dustbin, and opportunity to enable a more accessible method of voting for Londoners with disabilities and vision-impairments, as well as the city’s youth and long-hour workers.
The Guardian: Corbyn promises to ‘democratise the internet’
WebRoots Democracy, a group campaigning for online voting, has welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s digital democracy manifesto: “Online voting is forward-thinking and will help drag our democracy into the 21st century, and we call on all political parties and the prime minister to back the reform.”
Morning Star: Tech-Hungry Corbyn Plans Online General Elections
Mr Corbyn’s pledge was welcomed by the WebRoots Democracy campaign: “Online voting will help enfranchise citizens with disabilities and vision impairments, as well as young people and Britons abroad.”
Campaign group WebRoots Democracy created a report outlining the argument in favor of online voting and found it would decrease the cost associated with each vote by about a third.
Digital democracy, the next frontier in modern democratic reform, is a concept that isn’t given the prominence it deserves in British political discourse; but it is a concept that is fundamental to bridging the widening democratic divide between the young and the old.
Times of Malta: Why electronic voting is seen as a ‘difficult journey’
WebRoots Democracy, a British youth-led pressure group, is lobbying the UK government to implement an online voting option by the 2020 general election. The group says that while in 1964, 18-to-24-year-olds voted in the same proportion as those aged 55 and over, at the 2010 election, 44 per cent of 18-to-24-year-olds voted, as compared with 74 per cent aged 55 and over.
There would have been an extra 1.2m votes cast by young voters in the EU referendum if we had been able to vote online, according to a new YouGov survey.
International Business Times: Could a Brexit have been avoided if the UK had a smarter digital voting system?
In January 2016, the WebRoots Democracy organisation launched its Secure Voting report and its continued call for online voting to be introduced in Britain for Local and General Elections.
Areeq Chowdhury from WebRoots Democracy, and Kenny Imafidon from Bite the Ballot discuss youth voter engagement and Brexit on the day of the EU referendum results.
Progressive Radio Network FM: Infectious Myth – Online Voting
Interview focusing on online voting for US radio network PRN FM.
Partly Political Broadcast: Episode 17
Tiernan Douieb talks to Areeq Chowdhury at WebRoots Democracy about online voting.
Punch Newspapers: INEC’s proposals on new technology
The findings from WebRoots Democracy’s Viral Voting report are highlighted in Nigeria’s “most widely read” newspaper.
Chloe Smith, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Democratic Participation’, said it is “almost immoral by now to fail to consider online voting”, and that “it is a sizeable project and we should start it”.
Left Foot Forward: Trade Union Bill: Why it’s time for online strike ballots
The case for introducing online strike ballots for Trade Unions in the UK.
BBC Daily Politics: Discussion on online voting for the UK
The Daily Politics discuss online voting for the UK with Liz Kendall MP (Labour), Areeq Chowdhury (WebRoots Democracy), and Jason Kitcat (Open Rights Group) on the anniversary of the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy and following the publication of the Secure Voting report.
ToUChstone: Online voting: Safe as Houses of Parliament?
The Trades Union Congress give their thoughts on the release of the Secure Voting report and look at how it ties in with the debate on trade union strike ballots.
An open letter to UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, published in the Huffington Post.
Portuguese newspaper, Expresso, looks at the potential of online voting to combat low voter turnout.
ROOSTERGNN: Online voting and the future of our democracies
Campaign group WebRoots Democracy conducted a survey into online voting, with two-thirds of respondents stating that they would be more likely to vote in an election if they were able to vote on the internet.
The Straits Times: Time for online voting in the Internet age
A report in Britain noted that online voting could reduce the cost per vote by one-third, saving taxpayers millions of dollars per GE, while reducing the number of accidentally spoilt ballots and speeding up the counting process.
A recent report by campaign group WebRoots Democracy found that online voting could boost turnout in a UK general election by nine million.
Clive Bull on LBC radio discusses online voting with listeners following a poll by WebRoots Democracy and YouGov showing the majority of Londoners are in favour.
It was a big talking point ahead of the general elections in May – should we be given the option to vote online?
London Evening Standard: Three in five Londoners want to be able to vote online
Leading Labour and Tory contenders Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith have both thrown their weight behind the campaign.
The Breakfast Show with Paul Ross and Penny Smith discuss online voting following a poll done by WebRoots Democracy and YouGov showing majority support in London.
Huffington Post: Unless Elections Modernise, Turnout in the EU Referendum Could Struggle to Surpass 50%
What evidence is there to suggest that engagement in the EU referendum will be similar to that experienced in the Scottish referendum? Will we really see national voter turnout anywhere near 85%?
In a YouGov survey of 1,047 adults in the capital, 59 per cent of those already online said they would support its introduction to the voting system.
Huffington Post: Over a Million Blind Voters Left Without a Voice in General Election
In the recent General Election an estimated 1,379,700 voters were prevented from voting in secret because of inaccessible voting and registration methods. The Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) is calling for online voting to be introduced by 2020 to remove barriers for blind people to exercise their right to a secret ballot.
London School of Economics: Online voting is the 21st century answer to poor voter turnout in the UK
In the wake of last week’s elections, Areeq Chowdhury argues that online voting is a potential solution to poor voter turnout.
Sustainability is perhaps the most important reason to introduce online voting. Voter engagement has to be long-term and future-proof. Online voting will not achieve 100% turnout, but it will take us much closer to it than we are now. The argument for it this year was already strong, but it will be much stronger in five years time.
A recent study by the campaign group WebRoots Democracy has found that online voting could increase voter turnout in a UK General Election by as much as nine million.
There are many arguments in favour of online voting: advocacy group WebRoots Democracy claims it could boost turnout to 70% and cut ballot costs by a third.
Vox Radio Lambeth: #GE2015 Election Special
Listen from 10.50 for views and discussion about introducing online voting in UK elections.
ITProPortal: General Election 2015: The year pen and paper dies?
This upcoming UK general election may be the last where pen and paper are used for vote casting.
Most people agree that allowing people to cast their vote over the internet would have a positive impact on participation. A recent report by campaign group WebRoots Democracy found that the introduction of online voting could boost turnout in a UK general election by nine million.
International Business Times: Election 2015: Why can’t we vote online?
When you go to the polling station on 7 May, take a moment to step back, look at your surroundings – the wooden floors of a village hall, the rusty hinges of the partition installed to stop anyone seeing your ballot paper, the very fact you queued for your entire lunch hour to drop a piece of paper into a box – and ask yourself why you can’t vote online.
Channel NewsAsia: Between the Lines: Close Contest
Akash Paun (Institute for Government), Ian Dunt (Politics.co.uk), and Areeq Chowdhury (WebRoots Democracy) discuss the upcoming General Election on Singapore-based Channel NewsAsia.
Hustings, ballot boxes, election broadcasts, the leaders of two mighty parties battling it out for the “keys to Number 10”. Why does so much about the general election seem to belong to a bygone era?
We do everything online – book doctors’ appointments, manage our bank accounts and find dates – but we still can’t yet vote from our PCs or smartphones.
The Wharf: Online voting should be piloted in Tower Hamlets to encourage more voters and combat fraud allegations
An online voting option should be piloted in the next Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election, according to a new report Viral Voting.
The Independent: ‘Hactivists’ are trying to reboot democracy from the bottom up with interactive voting apps
Activists and developers around the world are building software that could revolutionise the way we go to the polls.
Shout Out UK: Online voting could boost flagging turnout by 9 million
An online voting option in the UK elections could increase voter turnout by up to 9 million, a new report called ‘Viral Voting’ reveals.
Democratic Audit UK: Safe, secure, and sure to increase youth engagement: the Government should introduce online voting for UK elections
The Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy recently proposed introducing online voting in time for the 2020 General Election, an aspiration which looks well intentioned if ambitious. Here, the Chief Executive of WebRoots Democracy, Areeq Chowdhury, argues in favour of allowing voting via the internet on the grounds that the security risks are overstated and that it would increase engagement amongst young people.
New Statesman: Women are at risk of falling off the electoral register – and out of the political debate
Abena Oppong-Asare writes about women and voting as part of International Women’s Day 2015.
BBC News: Politics Live – 4 March
Online voting could boost youth voter turnout from 44% in 2010 to as high as 70%, a report out today claims.
BBC Three Counties Radio: Discussion on online voting
Iain Lee discusses the Viral Voting report recommendation for online voting to be piloted in the next Watford Mayoral Election, with WebRoots Democracy founder Areeq Chowdhury.
Sky News: Young Voters Urged To ‘Use Age Wisely’
A Facebook campaign aimed at first-time voters urges them to be a “huge part” of what is expected to be a closely-fought election.
Royal London Society for the Blind: Online voting could boost number of youth turnout and give secret vote to the blind
Online voting could increase youth turnout by nine million and could allow 360,000 blind people to cast a secret vote for the first time, a report published this week reveals.
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress blogs about online voting and WebRoots Democracy’s Viral Voting report.
Watford Observer: An online voting option should be piloted in the next Watford mayoral election, according to national pressure group
An online voting option should be piloted in the next Watford mayoral election, according to a new report ‘Viral Voting’ launched this week.
Huffington Post: Should the UK Introduce Online Voting in Elections?
In a country where 38million of us are socialising online, 36million of us are shopping online, 26million of us are banking online, and 4.5million of us are dating online; it is perhaps unsurprising that 65% of the public are in support of being able to cast their vote online. But what would be the benefits of such a move?
BBC Radio 5 Live: Daily Show discussion on online voting in elections
Adrian Chiles discusses the Speaker’s recommendation for online voting by 2020 with Conservative MP, Robert Halfon and WebRoots Democracy founder, Areeq Chowdhury.
The Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy has published its report which recommends that the UK should have online voting by the 2020 election.
All voters should be able to vote online within five years, according to a parliamentary commission set up to get more people involved with politics.
Have a look at why 2014 has been a positive year for those campaigning for online voting in elections.
Huffington Post: Getting Back to the Future of Voting
It is fair to say that our current methods of voting in the UK are incredibly out-dated and simply do not reflect the culture change that has occurred in the Google Generation.
London Live: Should we lower the voting age?
Panel discussion alongside vInspired and Shout Out UK about whether 16 and 17 year olds should get the right to vote,
Huffington Post: Could an Online Voting Option Have Enticed the Half a Million That Didn’t Vote in the #IndyRef?
Whilst over two million Scots will be feeling relieved and more than one and half million nursing feelings of disappointment, there will be over half a million Scottish people confessing to having not voted in the independence referendum.
Sky News: Debate: Should The UK Get E-Voting?
An online panel debates whether Britain should move to a virtual ballot box and whether e-voting would boost voter turnout.
Sky News: Young People Finding Their Voices
Video link of Sky News ‘Stand Up Be Counted’ campaign and online voting being discussed on Digital View.
Many registering digitally are under 35, but concerns remain over the hike in people who face being barred from the ballot box.
Left Foot Forward: It’s time to embrace the digital age and introduce online voting
The popularity of clicktivism, e-petitions, and political blogs are evidence that people are willing to politically engage online.
Huffington Post: The Campaign for Online Voting Starts Here…
It is time for the UK to start researching and developing a system of online voting for local and general elections. If we are to be serious about tackling low voter turnouts, we need to modernise the method of selecting our political representatives.
We have a problem in the UK with engaging young people to vote. In the last three General Elections, the turnout for young people aged 18 to 24 has been less than half; the lowest of all age groups. This needs to be addressed and I have a solution. We need to modernise our democracy and introduce an online voting option for all UK elections.