One of the great promises of e-government has been the prospect of increasing citizen participation. Yet a minority of local governments in the US use technologies that are interactively oriented, suggesting that this promise may remain unfulfilled. While much research has focused on the determinants of e-government and ICT adoption, there has been far less work examining the impact that ICTs have on changes in civic behavior or citizen engagement. This study aims to help fill this knowledge gap by examining the impact that specific local government ICTs have on a specific form of civic engagement: voting. This research creates and tests a unique measure, the Voting ICT Index to examine the extent to which local governments offer online information and utilities that help to educate voters and promote turnout. The index is tested on a sample of 400 local governments in the US to examine to the extent to which government’s use of voting ICTs influences voter participation, while accounting for other institutional and demographic factors that are known to shape voter turnout. While this study is set in the context of the US, some of policy and practice implications should be applicable for other governments.
Kelly LeRoux is an Associate Professor in the College of Urban Planning & Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and currently serves as Director of the department’s undergraduate program in Public Policy. She holds a PhD in Political Science from Wayne State University. She has published more than thirty peer-reviewed journal articles and books chapters related to Public Administration, Urban Studies, Public Policy and Nonprofit Management. Her current research projects focus on addressing the civic participation gap in the U.S., including the effectiveness of ethnic and immigrant service organizations in increasing voting and other form of civic engagement, and assessing the technological capacity of local governments to increase voter turnout. She currently serves on the advisory board for two national voter education organizations, Project Vote Smart and Nonprofit Vote, and holds an elected position on the board of the Public Management Research Association (PMRA). Past sponsors of her research have included the National Endowment for the Arts, Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, and the Institute for Research on Race & Public Policy, the Kresge Foundation, and the RGK Center for Philanthropy & Community Service.
Campus de Couros, Rua de Vila Flor 166,
4810-445 Guimarães, Portugal