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Broadening Participation Through E-Petitions? An Empirical Study Of Petitions To The German Parliament, Ralf Lindner Aug 2011

Broadening Participation Through E-Petitions? An Empirical Study Of Petitions To The German Parliament, Ralf Lindner

Ralf Lindner

Petitioning is a well established form of political participation in most liberal democracies, but little is known about petitioners, their socio-demographics, motivations and assessments of petitioning processes. In 2005, the German parliament introduced public e-petitions which are submitted, signed and discussed on the Internet. This article reports a 2007 survey of 571 traditional and 350 e-petitioners. The results indicate that both petitioner samples are characterised by an above average level of general political participation and Internet use. Users of the e-petition system are younger than traditional petitioners, but the group continues to be dominated by men and those with higher ...