Case Study – Public Elections – Voter Engagement and Self-Service
Citizens are increasingly accessing information and services using smartphones which is triggering governments to transform how they drive citizen engagement and self-service for Elections.
Elections Canada reports that the average voter turnout for Canada’s general elections since 1867 has been 70.7% and is trending downwards. The same trend is evident at provincial general elections, for example in Manitoba the voter turnout has generally declined since 1973 when it was 78.3%, and in 2011 it was 55.77%.
High voter turnout is important to ensure an election is an accurate reflection of the will of the people. Low turnouts can lead to unequal representation among various parts of the population.
In order to increase voter participation it is essential to engage citizens to inform, educate and answer questions. The effectiveness and relevance of traditional outreach such as print, television, radio, newspapers, service centers, and desktop websites are diminishing with every passing year due to the rapid adoption of smartphones.
In 2015 the CRTC reported that over two thirds of Canadians own a smartphone and nearly half own a tablet computer. This shift has transformed how people prefer to access information and services they require. Industry research reports that when it comes to self-service, 75% of people believe answers to their common questions should be available via smartphones, while 50% of smartphone users would prefer to use a mobile app rather than calling a service center.
“These trends present an opportunity for governments to increase voter engagement while also reducing service delivery costs. Smartphones make anytime, anywhere self-service accessible and convenient. By self-servicing, people get answers to their questions quickly and the government gets fewer service center calls and their associated costs. ” said Brian Hurley, President and CEO of Purple Forge.
Recognizing the trends, Elections Manitoba announced their “Manitoba Votes 2016” mobile app. “Manitoba Votes 2016” was developed to improve information accessibility and convenience for voters. Highlights include:
- My voting information – Assist citizens in finding electoral divisions, candidates, returning offices, election day and advance voting locations based on your residential address.
- Advance voting locations – See a complete list of advance voting locations in the province. Find advance locations near your current location.
- Employment – Learn about election jobs available and apply directly using the app
- ID requirements – Find out what ID is required for advance and election day voting
- Accessibility –Voting options for citizens with disabilities
- Students – Information about eligibility and residence requirements for post-secondary students
- Important dates – View a list of all the key dates in the election calendar. Add them to your own calendar.
- FAQ – Answers to common election questions
- Contact – Get contact information for your returning office and for Elections Manitoba
- For candidates – Nomination process, information sessions and spending limits
- Results – Access past election election results and election night results
The “Manitoba Votes 2016” app is free to download for Android, iPhone and Blackberry platforms and supports both official languages.
The Elections Manitoba app is powered by Purple Forge’s award-winning Software as a Service (SaaS) platform. Purple Forge is a leader in mobile-first community engagement and self-service SaaS solutions including Smart Cities and Smart Government.
Purple Forge mobile election apps are widely deployed in the US and Canada, where customers include: County of Denver CO, Union County NJ, City of Long Beach CA, Winnipeg MB, and Edmonton AB.