Indigenous communities and organizations are increasingly using digital technologies to build community capacity, strengthen community consultation, and improve political participation. In particular, Internet voting is a type of technology to which First Nations have been drawn. This article explores Whitefish River First Nation's (WRFN) experience introducing Internet voting in the course of ratifying a new matrimonial real property law (MRP). Specifically, we examine the implications of Internet voting for political participation and electoral administration at the community level. Although community members’ uptake of Internet voting was very modest, we find the experience of adoption had other subtle impacts on community capacity, specifically in terms of empowering the community to pass its own laws and connecting youth and elders. With respect to administration, Internet voting provided an opportunity to connect with community members using technology, to modernize voting processes, and to better accommodate community members needs.
The research that supported this article was funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council: July 2014 –“The Impact of Digital Technology on First Nations Participation and Governance.” We would like to thank the community of Whitefish River First Nation for their support and participation in the research. Specifically, we would like to thank Chief Franklin Paibomsai, Nishin Meawasige, and our youth research assistants Justin McGregor, Kylee Laudree, Nicole McGregor, and Theron McGregor. We would also like to thank our interpreter Miriam McGregor for her help and kindness throughout the research process. Finally, we would like to thank our McMaster research assistants Stephanie Plante, Theo Nazary, Matt McManus, and Marissa Matthews.
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Indigenous Adoption of Internet Voting: A Case Study of Whitefish River First Nation. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 7(3)
. Retrieved from: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/iipj/vol7/iss3/3