Grace Muthoni Muchiri

Title: Unfolding the Concept of Convenience Voting: Definition, Types, Benefits and Barriers

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Robert Krimmer, Dr. David Duenas Cid, Iuliia Krivonosova, MSc.

Opponent: Priit Vinkel, PhD

Defense: 4 June 2021


Abstract: Elections are the cornerstone of democracy. With each turn in an election cycle, voting reforms have evolved, consequently birthing convenience voting. Convenience Voting is based on accessibility, legitimacy and customer-centric philosophy. The recent decline of democratic participation and postponement of elections due to the Covid19 pandemic has further prompted some countries to explore convenience voting as an alternative to election day voting. The main aim of this thesis is to unfold the concept of convenience voting as there is a lack of clear understanding of its definition, use of terminology and its types. This thesis uses the metasynthesis approach to conduct a systematic literature review of 131 papers to address the overarching research question ‘How is convenience voting defined in academic literature’. The main findings are that convenience voting methods are primarily defined according to a change in time and place from election day voting. Based on the literature review, there are currently twenty-three convenience voting methods with at least eleven bearing synonyms. In light of this, this thesis (i) clearly defined convenience voting based on academic literature; (ii) presented a systematic literature review of the types of convenience voting; (iii) highlighted an overview of the benefits and barriers to convenience voting (iv) defined the types of convenience voting; (v) classified types of convenience voting into relevant archetypes and finally (vi) proposed a refined definition of convenience voting. Therefore, the findings led to the recommendation that governments should consider adopting convenience voting methods in preparation for the current and future pandemics/predicaments to uphold electoral integrity. Additionally, future research should use clear definitions and synonyms of each voting type when addressing convenience voting. Electoral assistance and relevant stakeholders should also have a unified definition and view of convenience voting and its methods to avoid misunderstandings and slowing down research.


Keywords: Convenience voting, Internet Voting, E-voting, Absentee voting, Early voting, Election-day voting, Vote by Mail, Remote voting, Absentee voting