Journal article / Trust in E-voting in Kerala and Other Regions in India

Avgerou, Chrisanthi, Silvia Masiero, and Angeliki Poulymenakou. ‘Trusting E-Voting amid Experiences of Electoral Malpractice: The Case of Indian Elections’. Journal of Information Technology. Published ahead of print, 1 February 2019.

Abstract (edited): This article constructs explanatory theory on trust in e-voting, a term that refers to the use of stand-alone IT artefacts in voting stations. We study e-voting as a techno-organisational arrangement embedded in the process of elections and the broader socio-economic context of a country.

Following a critical realist approach, we apply retroduction and retrodiction principles to build theory by complementing existing studies of e-voting with insights from an in-depth case study of elections in India. Our field work sites were Kerala, West Bengal, Karnataka and New Delhi, with focus on the former two. First, we seek evidence of trust in e-voting in the responses of the public to the announcement of election results.

Then we derive the following four mechanisms of trust creation or loss: the association of e-voting with the production of positive democratic effects; the making of e-voting part of the mission and identity of electoral authorities; the cultivation of a positive public attitude to IT with policies for IT-driven socio-economic development; and, in countries with turbulent political cultures, a clear distinction between the experience of voting as orderly and experiences of malpractice in other election tasks.

We suggest that these mechanisms explain the different experience with e-voting of different countries. Attention to them helps in assessing the potential of electoral technologies in countries that are currently adopting them, especially fragile democracies embarking upon e-voting.

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Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup

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