Academic journal article Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

The Impact of Trust and Relative Advantage on Internet Voting Diffusion

Academic journal article Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

The Impact of Trust and Relative Advantage on Internet Voting Diffusion

Article excerpt


Internet voting is an emerging e-government phenomenon. In the United States, several state and local governments have experimented with Internet voting. This study presents a model of Internet voting adoption that integrates diffusion of innovation theory, institution-based trust and e-government utilization. To test the model a survey is administered to 372 citizens. The results of structural equation modeling indicate that relative advantage, Internet trust, and e-government information utilization have a significant impact on intention to use Internet voting. In addition to these direct effects, disposition to trust has a significant impact on Internet trust and accessibility has a significant impact on relative advantage. Not only are citizens interested in using the Internet to obtain government information, but also to cast their ballot. As a result, opportunities for Internet use in the political process are constantly emerging. Government agencies should take advantage of technological innovations to improve the accessibility of the electronic ballot, to communicate the advantages of this phenomenon and to engender trust among the citizenry.

Keywords: Internet voting, Technology adoption, Trust, Diffusion of innovation, Technology acceptance

1 Introduction

E-government services are growing in importance to both agencies and constituents. In 2010, federal spending on information technology (IT) in the United States grew from 73 million in 2009 to 75.7 million in 2010, an increase of 4% [3]. Technological advancements have enabled government agencies to offer citizens more expedient services via the Internet. Not only is government spending increasing, but also citizens are taking advantage of these technological services. Virtually one third (31%) of online adults use Internet-based platforms such as blogs, social networking, email, and text messaging to get government information [87].

One emerging facet of e-government is Internet voting, or I-voting [88], [91], [98]. Oostveen and Besselaar [75] define Internet voting as "an election system that uses encryption to allow a voter to transmit his or her secure and secret ballot over the Internet [75]". Since 92 percent of the voting age population in the United States now has Internet access at some location [30], the potential exists for Internet voting to have a major impact on society. Done [30] suggests that citizens could save time while reducing pollution if I-voting is adopted nationally, even if voters traditionally spent only one hour and drove one mile to vote. If just 1 percent of votes cast in the 2000 U.S. presidential election had been cast online, the nation would have saved more than 26,000 hours and thousands of pounds of auto emissions [30].

According to the Report of the National Workshop of Internet Voting [17] Internet voting can be grouped into three categories: poll site, kiosk, and remote. Poll site Internet voting involves casting ballots at public sites where election officials control the voting platform and the physical environment. In kiosk voting, voting machines are located in convenient locations such as malls, libraries, community centers, supermarkets, post-offices, train stations or schools. The voting platforms are still under the control of election officials. The physical environment can be monitored and modified as needed to address security and privacy concerns and prevent coercion or other forms of intervention. Remote Internet voting maximizes the convenience and accessibility of the polls by enabling voters to cast ballots from virtually any computer with an Internet connection. Voting is not limited to the area in which the election takes place. This means that voters who in the past had difficulties voting, such as military personnel, and housebound, institutionalized or disabled persons, may be able to do so. Also voters who know they will be out of town or unable to visit an election site on the day of the election, may use a remote Internet connection. …

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