Elections and the internet

There’s this good article by Erwin Oliva, on inquirer.net, that talks about the impact of the internet on the American elections.

The big news, however, these days is that there is now a great divide in American politics, and it is no longer geographic. It will be generational, he stressed.

Young people who have been born in the age of rapid dissemination of information, in the age of YouTube and the Internet, the Presidential race is also going to be affected by how much information is targeting the young generation of voters.

Needless to say, our elections probably won’t be as affected, considering that the great divide here at home is really the digital one. Even the middle class aren’t as wired as they could be; and though the youth are, there is still the question of which politicians will be savvy enough to take advantage. And it isn’t just the wired youth that’s being ignored here; overseas absentee voters – most of whom spend alot of time online – are also feeling the drought of accurate and relevant information about the political scene at home. 

From the point of view of the electoral management body however, the most important question to settle at this stage is whether to approach the internet as a campaign regulator or as an enabler. 

I’ve written before on how I think that the COMELEC’s role as a campaign regulator vis-a-vis the ‘net should be minimal. Which leaves me with enabler. As an enabler, I imagine that the COMELEC can take the lead in promoting the use of the internet as a tool of reaching out to voters, especially overseas, probably through a common campaigning platform maintained by the COMELEC itself. That way, candidates won’t have an excuse for not reaching out to Filipinos overseas.


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