Nathan Finn Licht

Title: Insights into Internet Voting: Adoption Stages, Drivers & Barriers, and the Possible Impact of COVID-19

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Robert Krimmer, Dr. David Duenas Cid

Opponent: Prof. Dr. Mihkel Solvak, University of Tartu

Defense: 4 June 2021


Abstract: This thesis investigates how global internet voting adoption occurs. Contrary to the expert expectation in the last millennium, it has not taken the world by storm. The present work investigates why that is the case and what adoption stages, drivers and barriers can be identified for internet voting. Further, it explores whether the current COVID-19 pandemic has a positive impact? A new framework is proposed using a set of five innovation theories, Social Construction of Technology (SCOT), Gartner’s Hype Cycle, the Techno-Economic Paradigm (TEP), Unified Theory of Technology Acceptance (UTAUT) and Diffusion of Innovations (DOI). The resulting framework consists of a political and individual decision-making level, five general adoption stages and four narratives to explain technology diffusion. In order to understand if this framework can provide answers for the lack of take up, 18 expert interviews and extensive complementary desk research were conducted. The findings confirm the framework, including in which stages countries are, and identify the political level and contextual factors as bottlenecks, as well as the hopes in COVID-19, which might indeed be a turning point for internet voting adoption, which provides avenues for further research.


Keywords: internet voting, adoption stages, drivers and barriers, COVID-19, diffusion of innovations