Delvinia Interactive Inc.

Delvinia Interactive Inc.

October 16, 2006 06:59 ET

Seven in Ten Greater Toronto Area Voters Would Prefer Voting Online to Voting in Line, e-democracy Survey Reveals

-- Delvinia Interactive enables Town of Markham to lead the region in engaging youth through award-winning online voting program --

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 16, 2006) -

Attention: All news/political/city/technology editors.

As municipal Election Day approaches in Ontario, an e-democracy survey released today shows overwhelming support for online voting among citizens in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Sponsored by Delvinia Interactive using its AskingCanadians™ consumer research panel, the survey reveals that 69 per cent of residents in the GTA planning to vote in the November 13 election would prefer to vote online if offered. Of residents not planning to vote, 82 per cent responded that the opportunity to cast ballots online would increase the likelihood they would vote. The Town of Markham, the only municipality in the GTA to offer online voting in advance polling, has again partnered with Delvinia to provide a rich experience that enables youth and other Markham citizens to become more engaged in the democratic process.

"Online voting is a clear solution to problems of voter apathy and low turnout," said Adam Froman, President, Delvinia Interactive. "E-democracy is a winning alternative to build participation in the electoral process - especially among youth."

Youth most likely to cast e-ballots

A significant finding in the AskingCanadians™ study shows young people aged 18-34 are least likely to vote through traditional polling stations but most likely to adopt online voting. Among those planning to vote, three in four (73 per cent) would prefer to cast their ballot online. For those who don't intend to vote, the online voting preference is even higher at 83 per cent.

There are 445 municipalities in Ontario. Of the 25 municipalities that offer citizens the opportunity to vote using alternative methods like the Internet, Markham is the largest municipality providing a true online experience. Markham voters have until November 1 to register to vote online and will cast their ballots in advance polls between November 4 and 9.

In 2003, Markham's online voting program helped drive a 300 per cent increase in advance poll participation over the last election. Internet voters also represented 17 per cent of the registered voters in the election. One in four Internet voters had not voted in the last Markham election. And for those that cast their ballot, an overwhelming 100 per cent of Internet voters and 70 per cent of in-person voters said they'd vote online for the next election. The full 2003 report, authored by Delvinia Interactive with the support of CANARIE Inc., examining the impact of e-democracy in the Town of Markham, can be found at http://egov.delvinia.com/Delvinia_Voting_Report_04.pdf.

"Online voting is a great alternative for many elections but it only succeeds if voters are informed and educated about their choices," said Froman. "The Internet and other digital channels are vital communications tools to engage voters to participate in the emerging online voting process. The Delvinia team used our expertise in building effective digital customer experiences to build a comprehensive e-democracy experience suited for the specific needs of Markham voters."

Building the communications strategy for Markham's e-democracy initiative involved five steps: generating insight into voting patterns and preferences; creating the online experience to educate voters of their choices; planning the communications strategy; developing and executing all creative components; and finally, measuring voter response and reaction.

The site http://www.markhamvotes2006.ca acts as the primary communications hub, providing information on both online and 'in line' voting through compelling demos, video and animation. Traditional print and broadcast advertising, out-of-home, public relations, informational kiosks and voicemail broadcasts all work together to raise awareness of e-democracy. This year, additional components were added, including a refreshed site design, mobile text message alerts and an Add Your Voice feature that offers citizens the opportunity to sound off on the voting process and election issues.

In 2003, Delvinia's Adam Froman was recognized with a CANARIE IWAY award for breaking new ground in online communications to deliver public service information and moving Canadians towards e-democracy in a municipal election. The Town of Markham won the E.A. Danby Award for the campaign by the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario.

About Delvinia Interactive

Delvinia interactive is a leader in the creation and implementation of interactive marketing strategies that deliver a true Digital Customer Experience. Founded in 1998 and based in Toronto, Delvinia integrates insight at every step of the digital and interactive process, from experience design and use of research to production, execution and measurement of results. Delvinia has received awards for its work from Sympatico/MSN, CMA, CANARIE and MarketingSherpa.

About the e-democracy survey

These are the findings of an online AskingCanadians™ e-democracy survey conducted from October 6th to October 11th, 2006. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1,072 adult Canadians who reside in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was interviewed. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within (+/-) 3.0 percentage points, 95 per cent of the time, of what they would have been had the entire adult population of the GTA been polled. The margin of error will be larger within the individual GTA regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. This data was weighted to Census information. The AskingCanadians™ Consumer Research Panel can be found at http://www.askingcanadians.com.

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