E-electoral Engagement: How Governments Use Social Media to Engage Voters

Jim Macnamara*, Phyllis Sakinofsky, Jenni Beattie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Governments worldwide are increasingly attempting to use the internet to engage citizens. After an initial focus on delivery of information and services via what technologists call Web 1.0, strategies referred to as 'Government 2.0' and e-democracy have turned attention to the use of interactive Web 2.0-based 'social media' to engage citizens in consultation and participation to redress a concerning 'democratic deficit' and reinvigorate the public sphere. Even in countries with compulsory voting, such as Australia, electoral enrolment, voter turnout and formal voting are declining. Much focus has been given to expedient political use of social media during election campaigns, but an understudied area is how disengaged citizens and youth can be encouraged to engage or re-engage in democratic participation on an ongoing basis. This article reports analysis of initiatives by national, state and territory electoral commissions in Australia and New Zealand to use social media to engage citizens in political participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-639
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • e-democracy
  • electoral engagement
  • Government 2.0
  • political participation
  • social media
  • voter engagement


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