Rebooting Elections: The Internet and American Politics

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Going beyond theory and guess based forecasts, this paper systematically explores and measures the implications of the growing use of the Internet in the American political landscape. While many technological innovations can, and are, influencing the nature and structure of the American political system, the present revolution in communication technology is likely to be the most significant. After exploring the historical moments of this innovation as well as the theoretical assumptions and beliefs concerning elections and campaigning, we step beyond anecdotes and assumption by testing the impact of online voting, campaigning, and outreach on the nature of the political system. Using current election data, we specifically challenge the predominant conjecture that the impact of new technology will not affect electoral outcomes and illustrate that the use of the Internet is causing a marked shift in not just who votes, but who wins.


Keywords: Elections, Campaigns, Internet, Voting
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Kevin Wagner

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Florida Atlantic University
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

Dr. Wagner received his J.D. from the University of Florida and worked as an attorney and member of the Florida Bar with the law firm of Scott, Harris, Bryan, Barra, and Jorgensen in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He returned to the University of Florida five years later to earn an M.A. and Ph.D in political science. His research and teaching interests include judicial politics, political behavior, legislative behavior, American political development, media and politics, and American political thought. The main theme animating his research is an interest in understanding political change in democratic systems including the shifts in institutional powers through the gradual change of popular perceptions. He is currently working on a book manuscript on the effect of the Internet on American Politics. His work has been published in leading journals and presented at national conferences including the MPSA and SWPA.

Dr. Jason Gainous

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Jason Gainous is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. Prior to accepting the position at Louisville in 2006, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi and a Visiting Instructor at Southern Illinois University. He was born in Lakeland, Florida and did his undergraduate work in political science at Florida Atlantic University before receiving a Masters Degree and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida. His research interests include American politics, public opinion and political behavior, political psychology, campaigns and elections, media and politics, survey research, and methodology. Dr. Gainous has presented his research at many political science conferences around the country. He has also published various book chapters and articles in journals including Political Research Quarterly, Political Communication, and Statistical Science. His research has won awards from the American Political Science Association, the Florida Political Science Association, and the University of Florida.

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