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A new participatory policy model: the Edmonton citizens' jury on internet voting

  • Canadian Institute for Genomics and Society

Abstract and Figures

The weekend of November 23 to 25, 2012, seventeen Edmonton citizens took part in a Citizens’ Jury, which deliberated on whether to introduce Internet voting as an alternative voting method in future municipal elections. This unique public engagement process was modeled by the University of Alberta’s Centre for Public Involvement and is the first of its kind in Canada. The Jury heard testimony from expert witnesses, evaluated the evidence presented and, after extensive deliberation, delivered a verdict in favour of Internet voting. This article summarizes the Jury process, analyzes its outcomes, and discusses lessons learned from this approach to participatory policy development and decision-making.
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A New Participatory Policy Model
The Edmonton Citizens’ Jury on
Internet Voting
Kalina Kamenova and Nicole Goodman
The weekend of November 23 to 25, 2012, seventeen Edmonton citizens took part in a Citizens’
Jury, which deliberated on whether to introduce Internet voting as an alternative voting method
in future municipal elections. This unique public engagement process was modeled by the
University of Alberta’s Centre for Public Involvement and is the rst of its kind in Canada.
The Jury heard testimony from expert witnesses, evaluated the evidence presented and, after
extensive deliberation, delivered a verdict in favour of Internet voting. This article summarizes
the Jury process, analyzes its outcomes, and discusses lessons learned from this approach to
participatory policy development and decision-making.
Kalina Kamenova is a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Research Director
at the University of Alberta’s Centre for Public Involvement. She
developed the Jury concept and was a lead on the Citizens’ Jury
Research Team. Dr. Kamenova can be reached at kamenova@ Nicole Goodman is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the
Innovation Policy Lab in the Munk School of Global Aairs at the
University of Toronto. Her email address is nicole.goodman@ The authors thank Professors Marco Adria,
Jon Pamme, Edd LeSage, and Ms. Fiona Cavanagh for their
participation in the design of the Citizens’ Jury process and overall
contribution to the research programme.
In recent years, Canadian governments at all levels
have looked to public consultation to help bring
the voice of citizens into policy decision-making
processes. Most notably, the province of British
Columbia made history in 2005 by developing and
deploying the world’s rst-ever Citizens’ Assembly
to help weigh in on electoral reform. Ontario followed
in 2007 by convening its own Citizens’ Assembly to
obtain public insight on the same topic. Although
the recommendations of these citizen initiatives were
never passed, they helped establish a new tool to
foster public participation in policy processes that are
typically dominated by elected representatives. Since
then, other deliberative public engagement models
have been introduced to gain citizen perspective on
policy issues or proposed legislative changes. One such
event is the Edmonton Citizens’ Jury on Internet voting,
implemented by the City of Edmonton in collaboration
with the University of Alberta in November 2012, to
advise local ocials whether to proceed with the
introduction of Internet voting as an option in future
elections, beginning with a pilot in 2013. Much like
the Citizens’ Assemblies, albeit smaller, the Edmonton
Citizens’ Jury sought to tackle a complex policy topic
using a novel approach to citizen engagement.
What is a Citizens’ Jury?
Citizens’ Juries are an innovative, deliberative
method of political participation, which promote
direct involvement of citizens in policy development,
strategic planning, or technology assessment. The major
assumption of this approach is that lay people make
well-reasoned decisions on complex problems when
they participate in focused, deliberative processes.1
Juries rely on the participatory representativeness
of a small group of citizens, rather than statistical
representativeness achieved through more traditional
consultation approaches such as polling a larger
group of people.2 They are usually composed of 12-24
members who are randomly selected from the general
public. Selection criteria reect the need to achieve
a demographically diverse group—a “mini-public”
representative of the larger population. In many cases,
additional aitudinal screening is conducted to ensure
the jury is reective of a broad range of societal views.
The most distinctive characteristic of this process
is that decisions made by participants are evidence-
based and, in many ways, similar to the jury verdict
delivered in a court of law. This deliberative process
includes the following steps:
jurors hear evidence from expert witnesses;
they question the witnesses;
the information presented is critically reviewed
and evaluated;
the group engages in sustained discussions and
deliberation; and
a “verdict” on the issue or question (“the charge”)
under consideration is achieved.
Like a legal jury, the Citizens’ Jury method follows
the conventional reasoning that if a small group of
citizens, representative of the population, is presented
with evidence, their subsequent deliberations and
recommendations will reect the wisdom of the whole
community. It is a unique consultative tool that enables
the direct representation of citizen views to policy-
makers. Juries are particularly eective when there is
a commitment on the part of government to arm the
Jury’s verdict, or when this participatory policy model
becomes an institutionalized aspect of lawmaking.3
A Citizens’ Jury in Edmonton
In Canada, Citizens’ Juries had previously been
deployed for participatory technology assessment
as part of a nationwide public consultation in
2001 on regulatory challenges presented by
xenotransplantation.4 In Alberta, a pilot project was
developed in 2008 to evaluate the use of Citizens’ Juries
for engaging citizens in priority-seing for health
technology assessment.5 In both cases, citizens were
asked to form an opinion and provide policy advice
concerning the introduction of a particular technology,
but the process outcomes were not directly linked to
decision-making (e.g., the jury’s recommendation was
not delivered to a body of elected representatives).
By contrast, the verdict and recommendations of the
Edmonton Citizens’ Jury on Internet voting were
presented directly to City Council, making it the rst
of its kind in Canada.
The idea to use a Citizens’ Jury came from
researchers at the University of Alberta’s Centre for
Public Involvement (CPI). The fact that this method
provided participants with a systematic, evidence-
based education made it an ideal approach to tackle
a technical topic like Internet voting. In recent years,
the municipal government in Edmonton has worked
to increase public involvement and was supportive
of a participatory model for decision-making on
Internet voting. In 2009, the city collaborated with the
University of Alberta to jointly establish the Centre for
Public Involvement, an academic centre whose goals
are to promote research and learning related to public
involvement and to enhance traditional decision-
making processes through public participation. Since
its emergence, CPI has partnered with the city to
develop joint public involvement initiatives on issues
such as municipal budgeting, urban planning, food
and agriculture, and energy and climate challenges in
Edmonton. The complexity and controversy associated
with the subject of Internet voting, however, suggested
a more thorough citizen-involvement and learning
process may be appropriate. In particular, research
conducted by city ocials indicated that meaningful
engagement of citizens beforehand was necessary to
achieve public acceptance and had been instrumental
in the success of Internet voting models elsewhere.
The Citizens’ Jury was part of a robust consultation
programme carried out concurrently with a pre-trial
evaluation of Internet voting by city ocials. In addition
to the Jury component, the project included a security
test that involved a mock “Jellybean election”, which
allowed citizens to register and cast an online vote for
their favourite colour jelly bean. As part of the public
involvement process, CPI also conducted roundtable
advisory meetings with stakeholders (e.g. electors
with special needs and seniors), and a series of online
questionnaires. A total of six surveys were designed
to measure a range of public aitudes toward Internet
voting. Two of the surveys were administered to the
general public, two to Jury participants (one during
the selection process and the other afterward), and
two were devised to survey citizens who participated
in citizens’ roundtables. These roundtables oered
additional members of the public, particularly seniors,
feedback opportunities to express their thoughts and
opinions regarding the possibility of using Internet
voting in Edmonton. Taken together, these initiatives
were carried out during a four-month consultation
process, which took place from September 2012 to
December 2012.
Development of the Citizens’ Jury began in the late
spring when the Centre’s Research Director recruited
academics to partake in a Research Commiee,
responsible for crafting the aitudinal surveys and
designing an inclusive, balanced deliberative process.
The commiee of six was formed at the end of May
2012 and held eight meetings leading up to the
Citizens’ Jury in November 2012. Half of the commiee
members were aliated with CPI and the remaining
members with other Canadian universities. Members
were selected based on their expertise in elections,
Internet voting, local politics and decision-making,
deliberative democracy, and public participation.
As part of her role on the Research Commiee, Nicole
Goodman prepared an Issues Guide, which provided
an overview of key issues and debates associated
with Internet voting. This document was based on
current scholarly research and the experiences of
jurisdictions in Canada and Europe with electronic
voting technology. A shortened version of this Guide
was distributed to Jury members to help inform
their participation in the Citizens’ Jury process. A
Citizens’ Jury Advisory Commiee, consisting of nine
representatives from academia, government, and other
relevant organizations, was also created to provide
oversight of decisions as the Jury process unfolded.
In addition to these two commiees, a Project Team
composed of CPI sta and City of Edmonton senior
administrators worked together to spearhead the
overall Internet voting public consultation programme,
including the Citizens’ Jury component.
Member Selection
Citizens’ Jury member selection was planned in
the summer of 2012 and ocially took place from
October 1 to November 15, 2012. A third party research
company, EKOS-Probit, was hired to administer the
aitudinal survey of Edmonton’s population and
conduct the random selection of jury members. The
nal recruitment and appointment of jurors was
carried out by the CPI Project Team in consultation
with its advisory and research commiees .
The selection process was conducted carefully to ensure
participants were a close reection of the Edmonton
public in both demographic and aitudinal respects.
Demographic representation focused on characteristics
such as age, gender, race and ethnicity, level of education,
presence of a disability, household income, number of
children in the household, occupation, and residence in
Edmonton’s twelve wards (see Table 1). Aitudinally,
questions probed a range of opinions regarding trust
in local government, external and internal ecacy,
electoral participation, Internet voting, and condence in
technology (see Table 2). CPI and its advisory commiees
were careful to choose potential jurors whose aitudes
toward Internet voting were representative of the broader
Edmonton public, but who also indicated they were
open to changing their opinions about online ballots. A
survey of 1,349 residents administered by EKOS-Probit
from November 6 to 12, 2012 collected demographic
and aitudinal prole information of potential jurors.
Survey respondents were chosen based on a list of
randomly generated landline and cell phone numbers
and contacted using an automated calling method.
Potential jurors were then selected based on the data
obtained through this process and sent an information
package compiled by CPI, which explained process
details, including eligibility and expectations.
Citizens’ Jury participants were required to be eligible
Edmonton electors, able to aend all Jury sessions,
and could not be employees of the City of Edmonton.
Once a reasonable composition was achieved, jurors
were approached by CPI and provided an additional
information package and welcome leer. Of the 18
selected, all but one agreed to serve on the Citizens’
Jury. Jurors were compensated with an honorarium
of $400 dollars, for their participation in the Jury
weekend, which was about 20 hours of work. Meals
were provided throughout this time. Travel assistance
and childcare were also available for those who
required it.
Overall, a variety of groups were represented by
the Citizens’ Jury. Although target percentages were
not always met, a conscientious eort was made to
ensure representation was as equitable as possible.
Jurors between the ages of 30-49, for example, were
more challenging to aract, while the 50+ age group
remained slightly over-represented. In all, jurors
represented eight of twelve geographic wards and a
range of ethnic groups. Persons with disabilities and
those belonging to Aboriginal, Inuit, Métis, and First
Nation groups were in fact, slightly over-represented.
Aitudinally, jurors exhibited slightly more positive
orientations toward the political system, reporting
higher levels of trust and faith in their personal ability
to have a say. It is likely that citizens who exhibit
positive political orientations would be aracted to
participate in a public involvement process. Jurors
also had somewhat greater condence in computers,
were more likely to believe that the city was ready for
the introduction of Internet voting, and that voting
must be kept private and secret than the Edmonton
public. Reported likelihood of using Internet voting
and accessibility to the Internet, however, were exact
matches between the general public and the chosen
jurors. In as many ways as possible, the Citizens’ Jury
was a close approximation of the Edmonton public (see
Table 1 and Table 2 for demographic and aitudinal
The Jury Process
The Citizens’ Jury process took place for two and
a half days from November 23 to 25, 2012, and was
facilitated by two independent moderators. At the
outset, jurors were well briefed on the Jury concept,
the timelines of the process, and the outcomes required
at the end of the Jury. The timeline of the Jury process
was designed to enable the jurors’ to condently
provide an answer to the question, “Should the City
of Edmonton adopt Internet voting as an option in future
general elections?” Although the question addressed
on the potential of oering Internet ballots in future
elections, if the proposal were successfully passed by
council, a pilot would have been introduced in the
October 2013 municipal election.7
Throughout the Jury process members were apprised
with the Issues Guide and heard evidence, supportive
and critical of Internet voting, from a series of expert
witnesses, including the Chief Electoral Ocer of
British Columbia, leading scholars in election studies
and e-democracy, computer security experts, business
representatives, and municipal administrators from
across the country. Witnesses were selected on the
advice of the Research Commiee and upon review
by the Advisory Commiee. All experts made
presentations, sharing their expertise and informed
opinion on a wide range of issues, from the security
of Internet voting systems to studies addressing
specic jurisdictional experiences with Internet voting
Table 1: Demographic characteristics of Citizens’ Jury members compared with the population of Edmonton
Demographic trait Citizens’ Jury Edmonton population
Age group
18-29 22% (4 Jurors) 25.35%
30-49 22% (4 Jurors) 36.82 %
50+ 50% (9 Jurors) 37.83%
Sex Male 44% (8 Jurors) 49.85%
Female 50% (9 Jurors) 50.15%
High School or less 33% (6 Jurors) 43.43%
College or apprenticeship 39% (7 Jurors) 30.06%
University certificate or degree 22% (4 Jurors) 26.51%
South Asian or Chinese 6% (1 Juror) 11.57%
Aboriginal, Inuit, Métis or First Nation 17% (3 Jurors) 5.28%
Other visible minority 11% (2 Jurors) 11.34%
Not a visible minority 78% (14 Jurors) 77.09%
Disability (activity difficulties/reduction) 28% (5 Jurors) 17.60%
Households with children 17% (3 Jurors) 41%
Personal income
$0 - 29,999 28% (5 Jurors) 50.96%
$29,999 - 59,999 39% (7 Jurors) 30.01%
$59,999+ 19% (3 Jurors) 19.03%
Wards 1-12 1 Juror from each ward 8/12 represented
Table 2: Aitudinal characteristics of Jury members compared with the population of Edmonton6
Attitude Not much (1-3) Some (4) A lot (5-7)
Trust in municipal government 11% (24%) 33% (33%) 50% (41%)
External efficacy 6% (38%) 39% (32%) 50% (29%)
Internal efficacy 6% (28%) 11% (32%) 78% (38%)
Likelihood of using Internet voting 17% (28%) 11% (4%) 67% (67%)
Confidence in online ballots 11% (27%) 33% (18%) 50% (55%)
Confidence in computers 11% (25%) 11% (19%) 72% (56%)
Use tax dollars for Internet voting 6% (28%) 33% (37%) 56% (43%)
Edmonton ready for Internet voting 0% (23%) 11% (30%) 83% (46%)
Vote must be private and anonymous 6% (9%) 6% (12%) 83% (77%)
Access to Internet 22% (17%) 17% (26%) 56% (56%)
Fraud prevention methods needed 6% (4%) 0% (13%) 89% (81%)
Cost ($) worthwhile 6 % (10%) 0% (23%) 89% (65%)
in Canada and Europe. Periods of expert testimony
were followed by considerable time for questions and
discussion. Follow-up questions with expert witnesses
were also permied on the nal day.
Throughout the weekend, the moderators engaged
jury participants in many small group activities that
allowed them to reect on the evidence presented,
develop their thinking about the topic, and devise any
further questions. The group as a whole engaged in
extensive deliberation, particularly during the second
and third days of the Jury process. The information
and complementary exercises enabled the jurors to
formulate a well-reasoned, evidence-based verdict and
develop recommendations by the end of the process.
The nal verdict and accompanying recommendations
were presented to the City Clerk at the end of the third
The Final Verdict
The Citizens’ Jury reached a positive conclusion (a
“yes” verdict), voting 16 to 1 in favour of adopting
Internet voting as an alternative voting method in
municipal elections. After further deliberations,
however, the decision was achieved by consensus since
the juror opposing Internet voting stated he was not
entirely antagonistic to the idea and agreed to consent.
This juror justied his initial opposition by arguing
that the population was not ready to accept this
technological change, there were too many knowledge
gaps, and, nally, that he did not see any particular
advantage of adopting electronic types of voting.
The sixteen jurors who supported the adoption
of Internet voting pointed out that they believed
Edmontonians were technologically savvy and ready
to accept online ballots as a voting option. These jurors
perceived Internet voting as a step toward Edmonton
becoming a leader in citizen-centered service delivery
and e-government. Increased accessibility, especially
for people with disabilities, was also cited as a primary
rationale for support. The inclusion of online ballots as
an additional method of voting was seen as an added
convenience for voters who may be busy or absent
from Edmonton on election day. Internet voting was
perceived to be an extension of existing online services
in dierent spheres of everyday life, and an example of
the trend toward automation and growing inuence of
digital and mobile technology. While jurors supported
the introduction of online ballots in Edmonton
municipal elections, they did not recommend its
adoption for federal elections at this time.
In addition to the supportive verdict, the jurors
developed nine recommendations regarding the
implementation of Internet voting in Edmonton’s
municipal elections. These included:
Developing a registration system that is simple,
quick, and easy for users;
Adopting an online voting system that has
capability to accommodate smart phone and tablet
Conducting further research and evaluation to
measure success of Internet voting and improve
Using propriety software as a short-term solution,
but working to develop an open-source software
system for future elections (in collaboration with
the University of Alberta);
Improving accessibility of the voting process
for electors (e.g., oering public Internet voting
stations that are accessible; oering multiple
language options for online registration and online
voting, including Braille; adding a telephone line
or link that would allow voters to speak with a
support agent for assistance);
Developing a robust communications and
education strategy that outlines the security risks
of Internet voting and how they are addressed;
Including telephone voting as an additional voting
option alongside Internet voting by 2017;
Creating measures to improve security and ensure
privacy of the vote and;
Adopting Internet voting in the advanced voting
portion of the election only, and for a period of 14
consecutive days prior to election day.
Impact on Decision-Making
Prior to the verdict, city administration announced
that they would advise council proceed according to
the recommendations made by the Citizens’ Jury. This
statement was made based on the condence of senior
administrators in the deliberative process and their
commitment to follow through with the Jury’s decision
and recommendations. The administration also
commied to provide Jury participants with formal
feedback regarding whether their recommendations
would be implemented.
City council met on January 23, 2013 to review the
Internet voting proposal and make a decision, but
resolved to wait to vote on the maer until February
6, 2013 given that a member of the public, a computer
programmer from Edmonton, Chris Cates, had
requested to speak to council. On January 28, 2013,
an Executive Commiee of six councillors heard
presentations from two members of the Citizens’ Jury,
who elaborated on the Jury’s rationale for supporting
Internet voting, and Cates, a public opponent of
Internet voting who claimed to have voted twice in
the mock Jellybean election. On this basis, Cates’
presentation criticized the safety of the Internet voting
system, framing online ballots as a threat to democracy.
While the voting portion of the mock election had been
tightly controlled and its security had been thoroughly
assessed by an independent auditor, the city had not
been as vigilant with registration. Privacy and security
of the vote had been the primary concern and main
goal of the test. Not verifying whether electors had
double-registered allowed Cates to register twice.
Taking this new information into consideration, council
expressed concern with moving forward. Additional
questions surfaced, and although city administration
answered them to the best of their ability, there were no
experts on hand to weigh in. Although many concerns
were addressed through the Citizens’ Jury process, city
administration had provided councillors with the Jury’s
verdict and recommendations, but not the entire CPI
report prepared about the Jury process. The end result
was that some misunderstandings went uncorrected
and contributed to negative orientations toward Internet
voting among councillors. For example, there was
uncertainty regarding whether an Internet voting system
would allow candidates to track who had voted in their
ridings in the same way that the traditional scrutineer
system functions during paper based polls. Internet
voting systems do in fact allow candidates to monitor
which households have voted (but not who they voted
for), but councillors did not have this information.
Registration was also perceived as a concern since
there is no voters’ list in Edmonton and other Alberta
municipalities for municipal and School Board
elections. Although security measures could have
been implemented to the registration component,
councillors were under the impression that conducting
this portion of the election electronically would be
unsafe. After extensive deliberation by council in
the February 6, 2013 session, they voted 11-2 against
proceeding with Internet voting in 2013.
Although the ‘no decision’ by itself is not
unfortunate, for Internet voting may not be suitable
for every jurisdiction, it is regreable councillors may
have reached their conclusion under the assumption
of misinformation. Further qualitative research may
provide additional insight as to why council decided
not to proceed with an Internet voting pilot given
that the public consultation process undertaken by
the city had indicated a wide public acceptance of the
proposal. In addition to the Jury verdict, public opinion
questionnaires administered by CPI and EKOS-Probit,
which surveyed the broader Edmonton population as
part of the public involvement process, showed strong
support from Edmonton residents. Council’s decision
to vote in opposition to public opinion, without
seeking additional expert opinion and advice, and to
reject the Jury recommendations raises concerns about
the democratic legitimacy of the process.
Lessons Learned
There are some lessons to be learned from the
Edmonton Citizens’ Jury. First, this case suggests
that the eectiveness of participatory policy models
is largely dependent on governments’ commitment
to follow through with citizens’ decisions and
recommendations on the issues under consideration.
Citizen participation should not be a futile exercise.
Rather, when governments actively seek or mandate
public involvement, which often requires substantial
nancial investment and organizational planning, they
should be prepared to incorporate citizen input into
decision-making. Failing to do so can compromise the
legitimacy of the government decision-making.
Second, the Citizens’ Jury demonstrates that lay
people are capable of acting as competent decision-
makers on complex policy issues. The Jury engaged
a mini-public, closely representative of Edmonton’s
population, in a focused deliberation on the proposed
policy option of adopting Internet voting in municipal
elections. The group engaged in learning about a
variety of contextual factors that inuence Internet
voting programmes in Canada and Europe, and
were educated on issues and concerns surrounding
the security of electronic voting technology. The
process fostered dialogue between citizens and
experts from academia, industry, government, and
advocacy organizations about the use of Internet
voting in Canada at all levels of government. The
Jury experience suggests that average citizens can
fruitfully contribute to public policy decisions through
evidence-based deliberation. Furthermore, the public
does not necessarily have to convene for long periods
of time like other deliberative bodies such as Citizens’
Assemblies. The Edmonton Citizens’ Jury on Internet
Voting suggests that shorter time frames of learning
and deliberation can be eective if executed properly.
In addition to time savings, adopting a Jury model can
also result in signicant cost savings for governments
since it requires less resources than larger participatory
policy initiatives.
As an experiment in deliberative democracy, the Jury
process also tested the ability of citizens to provide a
meaningful contribution to technology assessment. It
armed the value of hybrid forums of technical experts,
politicians, and lay people as innovative participatory
mechanisms that could extend and enrich traditional
political institutions and decision-making processes
in representative democracies. 8 The use of Internet-
based technologies in the electoral process continues
to raise uncertainty and remains hotly contested by
dierent societal groups. Participatory methods, such
as Citizens’ Juries, can allow citizens to engage in
learning and provide meaningful input into decision-
making on controversial topics.
Fourth, Citizens’ Juries can enrich areas of
traditional decision-making by administrative ocials
and elected representatives, that can often be decient
and ineective. For example, decision-makers may not
have sucient knowledge to make informed decisions
or may have limited competences and expertise.
Understanding complex policy issues, such as Internet
voting, requires a sustained learning eort and
dialogue between citizens, experts, and stakeholders,
and elected representatives may not have the time and
resources to engage in lengthy evaluation processes
prior to decision-making. Furthermore, lack of
consultation and input from citizens can foster public
distrust and weak senses of external ecacy. There is
an expectation that direct participation can compensate
for such deciencies. This involves ensuring a
process characterized by inclusiveness, equitable
representation, accountability and responsiveness to
those not included in the consultation process.9 It is
reasonable to assert that the composition and design of
Edmonton Citizens’ Jury on Internet voting achieved
Fifth, when governments seek to embed public
participation in policy-making, greater institutionalization
of processes like the Citizens’ Jury may be required for
Jury models to be eective; although the nal outcome
of the Edmonton Citizens’ Jury on Internet Voting
demonstrates how dicult this can be in practice. When
this type of process is not institutionalized and legally
binding, its eectiveness depends largely on whether
administrators and elected representatives are condent
in citizens’ ability as decision-makers and how willing
they are to arm the Jury’s verdict.
In Canada and Europe, where most Internet voting
activity has taken place, there has been lile to no
public consultation. In a majority of cases, citizens are
educated and informed about Internet voting processes
after governments have established development
models. In those jurisdictions where Internet voting is
successful, public support is high in spite of lile citizen
consultation. Case analysis reveals that the inclusion
of robust outreach and information programmes
result in greater use by citizens and can have a positive
impact on voting turnout.10 Although we are unable
to assess the eects of Internet voting in Edmonton,
the Citizens’ Jury process itself was perceived as an
important public engagement initiative, receiving
scholarly aention, positive coverage from media, and
supportive comments from residents. It is not clear at
this point, however, the eect that council’s decision
will have on citizen trust in politicians and political
processes, and how responsive they perceive local
political institutions to be.
A nal consideration is the importance of using
participatory policy models to gain feedback regarding
citizen-centered approaches to service. Internet voting
is viewed as part and parcel of a citizen-focused service
framework that is geared at puing the citizen rst
and enhancing accessibility of services for residents. If
a policy change is centered on the citizen, it seems only
natural to engage a representative group of citizens
to develop policy outcomes. The Citizens’ Jury model
provides a means of involving the public in this sort of
policy development.
It is dicult to comment on the overall success of the
Edmonton Citizens’ Jury since council did not follow
through with the advice it imparted. In a sense, this
casts a shadow of doubt on the overall eectiveness
of the public involvement process. Broadly, however,
Citizens’ Juries are a novel mechanism in Canada
that could be used by government ocials at various
levels to increase public involvement in policy-making
processes that are traditionally dominated by elites. In
an age where citizen-centered service and programs
are becoming increasingly important for government,
it may be worth looking more closely at models such
as this, which facilitate representation and public
involvement, but are small-scale and do not incur the
costs of a referendum or Citizens’ Assembly. The fact
that city councillors overruled the advice of the Jury
and city administration by voting against the Internet
voting proposal should not be taken as a failing of
the Citizens’ Jury process. Rather, it shows that in a
representative democracy nal decisions on policy
proposals rest with elected representatives and they
are in a unique position to accept or reject the wisdom
of public input.
1 The concept originated in the early 1970s with the
development of a method of deliberation called Planning
cell or Plannungszelle by Professor Peter C. Dienel at the
Research Institute for Citizen Participation and Planning
Procedures at the University of Wuppertal in Germany.
Independently, a similar process was modeled in the
mid-1970s under the name of “citizens’ commiee”
by Ned Crosby at the Jeerson Center in Minneapolis,
Minnesota. In the late 1980s, Crosby adopted the term
“citizens’ jury” and registered a trademark on it in the
United States.
2 T. Wakeford, “Citizens Juries: a Radical Alternative for
Social Research,” Social Research Update, Vol. 37, 2002,
p. 2.
3 Oregon became the rst state to institutionalize a
Citizens’ Jury style-process to review ballot measures,
a Citizens’ initiative tool that in recent years has
become a divisive and bier bipartisan issue. On June
1, 2011, the Oregon Legislature voted to permanently
implement Oregon Citizen Initiative Review (Oregon
CIR). CIR uses Citizens’ Juries to deliberate on proposed
ballot measures and develop recommendations to
Oregon voters, which can help them understand beer
controversial and partisan issues. For further discussion,
see J. Thomson, & S. Burall, “E-petitions aren’t enough
- Britain should learn from the ‘Oregon model’ of citizen
juries,” openDemocracy, October 22, 2011, retrieved
from: hp://
4 E.F. Einsiedel, Assessing a controversial medical
technology: Canadian public consultations on
xenotransplantation. Public Understanding of Science,
Vol. 11(4), 2002, pp. 315-331.
5 D. Menon, & T. Stanski, Engaging the public in priority-
seing for health technology assessment: Findings from
a citizens’ jury, Health Expectations: An International
Journal of Public Participation in Health Care and Health
Policy, Vol. 11(3), 2008, pp. 282-293.
6 Aitudinal questions were asked on a 7-point Likert
scale. Edmonton population values are in parentheses.
7 If passed, Edmonton would have become the rst
municipality in Alberta to commit to trial Internet voting
in a binding election.
8 M. Callon, P. Lascoumes, & Y. Barthe, Acting in an
Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy,
Cambridge, 2009, MA: MIT Press.
9 A. Fung, “Varieties of participation in complex
governance,” Public Administration Review, Vol. 66,
supplement s1, 2006, p. 67.
10 Nicole Goodman. ”Internet Voting in a Local Election
in Canada” in Internet and Democracy in Global
Perspective, Eds. Bernard Grofman, Alex Trechsel, and
Mark Franklin, Springer Verlag; forthcoming 2013. Jon
Pamme and Nicole Goodman. Key Social Issues in the
Planning, Implementation and Use of I-Voting, Elections
Canada, forthcoming 2013.
Full-text available
This chapter reviews a range of participatory, consultative and deliberative innovations in Canadian governance during the modern era. In examining national, provincial and municipal cases, the analysis draws on secondary literature and case studies to make sense of diverse experiences and practices. Archon Fung’s ‘democracy cube’ analytical framework (Fung 2006) is utilized to appreciate key features of direct democratic and deliberative forms of democratic participation. The purpose of this report is to identify, where existing empirical research allows, a variety of impacts that these innovations have on processes and actors in the multiple levels of Canada’s representative political system
Controversies over such issues as nuclear waste, genetically modified organisms, asbestos, tobacco, gene therapy, avian flu, and cell phone towers arise almost daily as rapid scientific and technological advances create uncertainty and bring about unforeseen concerns. The authors of Acting in an Uncertain World argue that political institutions must be expanded and improved to manage these controversies, to transform them into productive conversations, and to bring about "technical democracy." They show how "hybrid forums"—in which experts, non-experts, ordinary citizens, and politicians come together—reveal the limits of traditional delegative democracies, in which decisions are made by quasi-professional politicians and techno-scientific information is the domain of specialists in laboratories. The division between professionals and laypeople, the authors claim, is simply outmoded. The authors argue that laboratory research should be complemented by everyday experimentation pursued in the real world, and they describe various modes of cooperation between the two. They explore a range of concrete examples of hybrid forums that have dealt with sociotechnical controversies including nuclear waste disposal in France, industrial waste and birth defects in Japan, a childhood leukemia cluster in Woburn, Massachusetts, and Mad Cow Disease in the United Kingdom. They discuss the implications for political decision making in general, and they describe a "dialogic" democracy that enriches traditional representative democracy. To invent new procedures for consultation and representation, they suggest, is to contribute to an endless process that is necessary for the ongoing democratization of democracy.
The multifaceted challenges of contemporary governance demand a complex account of the ways in which those who are subject to laws and policies should participate in making them. This article develops a framework for understanding the range of institutional possibilities for public participation. Mechanisms of participation vary along three important dimensions: who participates, how participants communicate with one another and make decisions together, and how discussions are linked with policy or public action. These three dimensions constitute a space in which any particular mechanism of participation can be located. Different regions of this institutional design space are more and less suited to addressing important problems of democratic governance such as legitimacy, justice, and effective administration.
A policy question was posed in 2001 to Canadian publics: should Canada proceed with clinical trials on xenotransplantation and if so, under what conditions? As part of its development of policy and regulations on this medical technology, Health Canada and the Canadian Public Health Association implemented a public consultation process that included a public opinion survey and deliberative citizen fora modeled along the citizens' jury. This study focuses on the citizen fora and describes an assessment of effectiveness based on an evaluation framework developed on the basis of concepts from constructive technology assessment and deliberative democracy.
Internet Voting in a Local Election in Canada Key Social Issues in the Planning, Implementation and Use of I-Voting
  • Nicole Goodman
Nicole Goodman. " Internet Voting in a Local Election in Canada " in Internet and Democracy in Global Perspective, Eds. Bernard Grofman, Alex Trechsel, and Mark Franklin, Springer Verlag; forthcoming 2013. Jon Pammett and Nicole Goodman. Key Social Issues in the Planning, Implementation and Use of I-Voting, Elections Canada, forthcoming 2013.
Jon Pammett and Nicole Goodman. Key Social Issues in the Planning, Implementation and Use of I-Voting, Elections Canada
  • Nicole Goodman
Nicole Goodman. "Internet Voting in a Local Election in Canada" in Internet and Democracy in Global Perspective, Eds. Bernard Grofman, Alex Trechsel, and Mark Franklin, Springer Verlag; forthcoming 2013. Jon Pammett and Nicole Goodman. Key Social Issues in the Planning, Implementation and Use of I-Voting, Elections Canada, forthcoming 2013.