Worldwide, representative democracies have been experiencing declining levels of voter turnout, lower membership levels in political parties, and apathy towards their respective political systems and their ability to influence the political process. E-democracy, and specifically E-petitioning, have been touted as a possible solution to this problem by scholars of electoral systems. In 1999, the Scottish Parliament reconvened for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and quickly set out to change the way politics were handled in Scotland by launching the world's first online E-petition system. Analyzing the Scottish Parliament's E-petition system, and assessing the extent to which it fulfilled the aspiration and goals of its designers serves as a litmus test to see whether it is an effective medium to increase public political participation, and whether it could be replicated in other democratic countries. Data was collected from the Scottish Parliament's E-petitioning website, which hosts all the E-petitions and details of who signed them, each E-petition's path through the Parliament, who sponsored the petition, and other important information. Since success of an E-petition is highly subjective due to the original petitioner's own desired goals, three case studies of E-petitions and a data analysis were utilized to evaluate the system. Results suggest that the Scottish Parliament's E-petition system has engaged Scots in the political process, given them a medium to participate in meaningful policy formulation, and produced tangible changes in policy through E-petitions.
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Wilson, Bruce M.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Cotton, Ross D., "Political participation and e-petitioning an analysis of the policy-making impact of the Scottish Parliament's e-petition system" (2011). HIM 1990-2015. 1215.