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INTERNET HELPS TRANSFORM DEMOCRACY AND VOTING

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Amid predictions that only a tiny proportion of British voters will bother entering polling booths today to help el...
Amid predictions that only a tiny proportion of British voters will bother entering polling booths today to help elect a new European parliament, The Guardian (Online, p13) carries a feature on the potential of the internet for creating interest and participation in the political process.

A few individuals and organisations are acting outside the recognised political process to attempt the transformation of the tarnished image of European politics via the internet.

The Campaign for Open Politics in Europe believes political parties may find themselves increasingly redundant due to a new breed of 'information broker' which enables people to interact with big political organisations more directly, without the aid of parties or established lobby groups.

A separate article (p13) reports that a nationwide internet-based network of polling stations in remote villages and townships played a crucial part in the peaceful outcome of South Africa's second democratic election last week.

Each of the 18 million votes cast on 2 June was processed by computer in the capital Pretoria. Satellite and internet technology delivered results from polling stations in areas without mains electricity and telephones to a central database.

The outcome was a first for South Africa: an accurate count 24 hours after polls closed, avoiding the violent disputes which marred the historic 1994 elections.

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