US report in OZ - Votes lost with poor Net image : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Story Link Votes lost with poor Net image

THE online age of political campaigning may be here, but it is still in its infancy, even in the Web-savvy, campaign crazy United States.

Despite strong and sometimes costly efforts, would-be US presidents are failing to portray themselves as Web and technology friendly. For the first time the Internet has become a campaign and information tool in the presidential race.

The Arizona Democrats are expected to hold the first-ever binding Internet vote, allowing members to vote online in the presidential primary.

Candidates are sending duelling e-mails to each other and even out-going President Bill Clinton has given his first fully online interview.

The research community has also become involved, with US-based Forrester creating an Internet Policy and Regulation group.

The researcher's brief is to analyse government's role in the development of the Internet economy and the impact of technology on government administration and electoral politics.

But its first report notes the immaturity of politics on the Web.

The US presidential candidates' highly-publicised Web sites are not helping their causes. They are cumbersome and poorly designed, the review says.

And the Web site of Republican Senator John McCain,, often noted for its online fundraising success, is the lowest rated of the leading four candidates.

"Despite high press visibility, the candidates' poorly designed Web sites undermine their efforts," the Forrester brief says. "Their sites suffer from cumbersome navigation, a lack of key functions, and poor synchronisation with contenders' offline activities. This hinders their ability to get their message out to voters, capitalise on TV exposure, and position themselves as Net and technology friendly."

The sites did not exploit the interactivity of the Net. They were not laid out effectively, and did not offer visitors the ability to find out where the candidates were appearing in upcoming weeks, it says.

Forrester graded the Web sites of the top four leading presidential candidates: Bill Bradley,, George Bush,, Al Gore,, and John McCain.

With possible scores ranging from -48 to 48, Bush's site received the best of the poor results, scoring 8. Gore's came second with a score of 5, Bradley scored -6 and McCain -11.

The sites were assessed based on their overall capabilities and their specific ability to meet voters' goals to give money, volunteer, sign up for an e-mail on campaign activities, understand each candidate's stand on the issues, and find out where he is appearing on the campaign trail.

On McCain's site, the navigation and over-reliance on separate pop-up windows made it very difficult to complete basic actions, Forrester found, and it was often not available.

But, even so, McCain collected $1 million in online donations in the 48 hours after his primary victory in New Hampshire.

The report concludes the candidate still makes the site: "Candidates have to make a connection with the voters before they can capitalise on their sites.

"The fanciest, most expensive site will not energise a campaign that does not strike a chord with voters."

Forrester believes that the increasing use of the Web by voters and candidates in the 2000 presidential race has set the stage for a debate on online voting.

"Internet voting experiments will increase at the state and local levels over the next four years, but wholesale use is at least eight years away," a review of online voting concludes.

There are still many hurdles to overcome. The Arizona Democratic Party's plans to conduct its presidential primary online have been challenged in court by the Voting Integrity Project.

It believes online voting would disenfranchise minority and low-income individuals, who are less likely to have Internet access.

A hearing is scheduled before the primary in March.

But once technical problems and administrative issues are resolved, America's democratic processes will start to change, Forrester predicts.

Candidates will shift their attention to electronic government and draw more voters to government sites.

E-voting will spur the use of more sophisticated security mechanisms, such as biometric IDs and digital signatures, which will in turn spur confidence in electronic commerce. This, in turn, could shape wide-ranging legislation.

Similar debates on online voting are being held in Australia, but political scientists warn that our complex and compulsory voting system cannot be compared with the US.


It's just amazing the coverage your USA presidential thing gets in OZ. And it's still got months to run!!!

Regards from Down Under

-- Pieter (, March 05, 2000


They left out the Pat Paulsen for Presedent Official Web Site and Archive. (Yes, I know he died. And your point would be.....?)

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), March 05, 2000.


I've heard that crafty OZ pols have used 'roos votes to stuff the ballot boxes. Tell me it's not true. Or at least tell me that it IS/IS NOT compulsory for the marsupials to vote in the Nether Half of the world.

Bill, trying to be serious in this forum, but still having a real problem with that.

-- William J. Schenker, MD (, March 05, 2000.

I'm Here etc,
It's a circus and I'm astonished to find myself reading about it at all, so I pitch it back at you Yankees...actually, I find it all very pervasively surreal...the staggering money and the Mozambique floods visual...Sheesh!!

Bill MD,
As ever loyal grovelling scribe for the Bro Possum's marsupial rodent revolution, chartered by his royal highness the SK himself, I am instructed to inform you that there are absolutely no donkey voters in OZ because we 'do' take things serious!!!;o)

-- Pieter (, March 05, 2000.

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