Outlook: The way forward for European e-democracy
"Electronic Democracy in Europe" investigates the current state and potentials of e-democracy in Europe from three partially overlapping and interlocking perspectives e-public, e-participation and e-voting. The final chapter of this book summarises the main results of the preceding analyses and combines a prospective outlook with recommendations for future pathways towards a meaningful integration of e-democracy in European politics. In order to stimulate the further formation of a European public sphere via (e-)participation and reaping the benefits of participatory potentials with the aim of strengthening democracy at the European level, the authors call for an integrative approach which brings together top-down and bottom-up initiatives, and fosters the linkability of existing partial publics and political processes at different institutional levels. Based on the analyses of electronic, Internet-based remote voting, the authors highlight numerous unresolved issues concerning cost-benefit considerations, technical feasibility and, most importantly, political legitimacy. On balance, the large-scale and mandatory introduction of e-voting systems in binding elections for public office cannot be recommended at present.