Election website fights voter apathy and brings power to the people

A NEW website has been launched to try to tackle voter apathy ahead of Scottish elections by providing information and debate about candidates.

Academics from Edinburgh University have designed www.holyrood2007.net, which goes live this week.

Voters can use it to find out background about people standing in their areas or discuss issues of the day. Among other things there will be a 100-second video of every candidate.

All visitors to the site have to do is enter their postcode and they will be able to view all those standing in their constituency.

They will then be able to log on to a media centre, forums, blogs and questionnaires, a learning centre, and a daily poll.

Navraj Singh Ghaleigh, lecturer in public law at the University of Edinburgh, said: "It has been well documented that interest in the political process is declining with more and more people losing the will to engage with the democratic process and actually get out and vote.

"The ultimate goal of this project is to rekindle that interest via web technology. You could call it e-democracy.

"Here, people can find out information about all the candidates and their policies online and take part in the debate - all at one website.

"We see it having particular applications with getting younger people more involved with politics and the election process. It will also benefit those in more rural areas, such as the Highlands and Islands where would-be voters may lack the opportunities to engage in direct debate with the politicians making the decisions that affect their lives."

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