Recognizing that citizen participation is key to democracy, governments around the globe are increasing access to public information by making it available online. While this is a great first step, the opportunity exists to take eGovernment and eGovernance to the next level by creating ongoing, two-way dialogues that foster greater citizen engagement.
Today’s advanced technology gives governments the tools they need to engage citizens in ways never before possible. It allows ordinary citizens to have more contact with public officials. It encourages ongoing participation in government and it enhances communication and trust.
Scytl’s ground-breaking eDemocracy Platform is aimed at helping governments accomplish these goals. Built on Microsoft technology, the platform improves today’s cities by connecting citizens and their elected representatives, enabling public debates on government plans and projects, promoting citizen influence in public decision making, and discovering and analyzing citizen interests and concerns. In a nutshell, it creates closer connections between governments and the citizens they serve.
As a Microsoft CityNext partner, we were thrilled to have demonstrated Scytl eDemocracy Platform at Smart City Expo and World Congress (SCEWC) and show how it brings about smarter government that nurtures citizen participation.
Among the tools included in the Scytl´s eDemocracy Platform is Scytl Online Voting, which enfranchises all voters including those located in remote locations and persons with disabilities, enabling them to cast their votes from any location on any device with a stable Internet connection. The platform also includes the Scytl eDemocracy Portal, which provides the tools for positive dialogue between citizens and public institutions; Scytl eParticipation, which enables debates and the sharing of opinions on various government or citizen initiatives and projects; and Scytl eConsultations, which allows government officials to make better decisions by securely and privately gathering citizen input about issues that affect their communities.
Already, more than 550 governmental authorities in over 40 countries have implemented Scytl solutions to promote citizen participation. Consider the following examples:
- New South Wales, Australia, used Scytl Online Voting to provide secure, private, and verifiable online voting in the 2015 New South Wales state elections. The technology made it easier for remote voters and people with disabilities to cast their ballots in an election that set a new record for the largest online voting election at the state level worldwide.
- The City of Girona in Spain used Scytl eConsultation in a participatory budget consultation that enabled citizens to vote for the projects they most care about. Citizens selected from among 98 projects, voting for their favorite using the device of their choice at a date and time that were convenient for them. The project resulted in unprecedented citizen engagement with a nearly 50 percent increase in citizen participation.
- The Municipality of Ölfus in Iceland used Scytl Online Voting to hold the country’s first-ever fully online citizen referendum. The voting centered on two issues—whether Ölfus should enter negotiations with other municipalities for a possible merger and when a popular festival should be held. Approximately 43 percent of the municipality’s residents voted, a clear demonstration of the possibility to leverage online voting for more participatory, agile, and secure referendums.
Using Scytl´s eDemocracy Platform, governments can eliminate barriers between citizens and politicians, while taking citizen engagement to the next level. As M. Ángeles Planas, Deputy Mayor of the City of Girona, put it, “This helps demonstrate that new technologies encourage participation.”
About the author:
Nuria Fernández, Marketing Specialist, Scytl
Núria Fernandez is a marketing specialist at Scytl, the global leader in secure election modernization technologies, eGovernance solutions and internet voting with a worldwide market share of 90%.
Since 2010 she has focused on Scytl’s positioning both online and offline at a worldwide level, being instrumental in content management for the multi-language website, email marketing campaigns, newsletters, press releases, enterprise social networking, merchandising and event organization. She has extensive experience in detection and evaluation of public procurement tenders and sales opportunities.
Prior to joining Scytl, Núria served as research assistant at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Boston, Massachusetts and studied at High Melton College, UK. Núria holds a Master Degree in Economics from the University Pompeu Fabra (UPF) with specialization in commercialization and market analysis.