Citizens' Jury on Internet Voting

The Centre for Public Involvement (CPI) collaborated with the City of Edmonton to implement an innovative and effective public involvement plan to increase the public’s knowledge of electronic voting processes, assess electoral readiness, and identify concerns and information needs about the adoption of this new technology.

The participants were members of a jury (Provide link to glossary) tasked with delivering a verdict either in favour of or in opposition to the adoption of internet voting for Edmonton Municipal elections. Following in-depth learning and detailed discussion, the jurists delivered a verdict in favour of adopting internet voting. Their decision was recorded in a report and delivered to Council to be voted on.

The motion to adopt internet voting was defeated in council, however, the recommendations of the jurists were not without impact. As an experiment in deliberative democracy, the Jury process also tested the ability of citizens to contribute to a technology-centered assessment. It affirmed the value of hybrid forums of technical experts, politicians, and lay people as innovative participatory actors to extend and enrich traditional political institutions and decision-making processes in representative democracies. Furthermore, the citizen created recommendations continue to inform discussions concerning internet voting in Edmonton.

Citizens’ Jury on Internet Voting

Click here to view the Citizens Jury Program.

Here is a Citizen Jury Extended Interview with Dr. Kalina Kamenova and Dr. Nicole Goodman

What is a Citizen Jury?

A Citizen’s Jury is a viable decision-making model, which promotes the direct involvement of citizens in decisions about strategic planning, policy development, or technology assessments. It is usually made up of 12- 24 jurors, who are randomly selected members of the general public. The jurors hear evidence and proposals from experts, review the information presented, question the expert witnesses and engage in deliberation, to make recommendations on the issue or problem under consideration. Unlike focus groups and surveys, this method of public engagement allows the participants to represent their views directly to policy-makers.

The idea behind Citizens juries is that given enough time and information, ordinary people can make decisions about complex policy issues. The citizens’ jury allows the participants to learn in depth about one or a number of issues relevant for the public.