MEDIA RELEASE: 13 June 2018 – R00125
Scores of Ontario residents did something last week that may soon be a thing of the past: they lined up at polling stations, ballot in hand, ready to cast their vote to determine the next provincial government.
While elections will remain, the physical queues at polling stations may one day be replaced by online and telephone voting, the implications of which Brock political scientist Nicole Goodman and her colleagues are exploring in their research.
Goodman is one of 11 researchers at Brock who were recently awarded Insight Grants of more than $1.1 million from the federal government’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). In addition, 16 students were awarded SSHRC student grants totalling $565,000, contributing to a $1.6 million Brock grand total.
Examining select municipalities in the 2018 Ontario municipal elections, Goodman is studying how online and telephone voting impacts voter turnout, the composition of the voting population and residents’ attitudes towards local political institutions and representatives.
This is a significant issue for Canada. Paper voting has been eliminated and replaced with either online voting or a combination of internet and telephone ballots in select Ontario and Nova Scotia municipalities, making them the only jurisdictions in the world to do so, she says.
“Online voting is becoming more commonplace: people are using it, and we know little about the effects,” says Goodman. “Nobody knows what happens when you make elections fully electronic. This research will give academics and government officials a sense of what types of effects this policy change could have.”
In addition to Goodman’s work, other examples of research funded through 2018 Insight Grants include:
- Examining how people of all age groups can use physical activity as a tool to love and respect their physiques.
- Reviewing young people’s reflections on early paid employment in Canada.
- Exploring the economic consequences of ‘greenwashing.’
- Looking at how to connect school science to local communities, promoting meaningful engagement for students.
Brock Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon noted how the success rate for Brock researchers applying for Insight Grants was 55 per cent in this latest competition, up from 32 per cent last year.
“I’m delighted by the wide range of research being funded,” says Kenyon. “This variety reflects the diverse interests and expertise of our researchers as we engage with the issues of our community, country and world.”
Examples of student research funded through SSHRC grants include:
- Examining perfectionism, social experience and mental health in adolescents.
- Studying the history of the Anishinaabek peoples on Manitoulin Island.
- Exploring make homosociality in team sports.
- Looking at the creativity of children with reading disabilities.
SSHRC’s Insight Grants program provides funding for three to five years for research that accomplishes a number of goals, including building knowledge and understanding, supporting new approaches to research and providing training experiences for students.
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