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Digital Democracy through Electronic Petitioning

Abstract

The International Teledemocracy Centre at Napier University has designed an innovative e-democracy toolkit to support participation in the democratic decision-making process. Electronic petitioning is one of the web-based applications in the toolkit. It can be found at www.e-petitioner.org.uk and has the functionality to create petitions; to view/sign petitions; to add background information, to join discussion forum; and to submit petitions.

On 14th March, 2000, the Scottish Parliament agreed to allow groups and individuals to submit petitions using the e-petitioner system for a trial period. The special arrangement between the Teledemocracy Centre and the Scottish Parliament has allowed both parties to start to evaluate the use and civic impact of electronic petitioning in Scotland. The development, deployment and evaluation of e-petitioner have demonstrated how straightforward computing techniques can enhance public participation in the newly established Scottish Parliament. As well as the system being used to submit e-petitions to the Scottish Parliament, it is also hosting the first ever e-petition to the British Prime Minister at No.10 Downing St.

copyright: Kluwer Publications, 2002

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