Data

Face-to-Face, Online, or Both?
Online
General Type of Method
Informal participation
Typical Purpose
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Spectrum of Public Participation
Consult
Links
The Effect of SMS on Participation: Evidence from Uganda
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Ask & Answer Questions
Express Opinions/Preferences Only
Scope of Implementation
National
Metropolitan Area

METHOD

SMS (Text Messaging)

November 10, 2019 03:03   (UTC +00:00) Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
November 10, 2019 03:03   (UTC +00:00) Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
October 30, 2018 19:07   (UTC +00:00) richards1000_new
July 31, 2018 16:04   (UTC +00:00) Scott Fletcher, Participedia Team
July 31, 2018 15:03   (UTC +00:00) Scott Fletcher, Participedia Team
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both?
Online
General Type of Method
Informal participation
Typical Purpose
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Spectrum of Public Participation
Consult
Links
The Effect of SMS on Participation: Evidence from Uganda
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Ask & Answer Questions
Express Opinions/Preferences Only
Scope of Implementation
National
Metropolitan Area
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The use of SMS (text messaging) for public feedback has increased with the growing number of mobile phone users. Depending on the purpose of the wider initiative, SMS systems can be used for everything from simple voting to long-form Q&A or issue reporting.

Problems and Purpose

SMS (also known as text messaging or 'texting') is a mobile phone-based tool used in numerous public participation initiatives for various purposes. Communication over SMS allows for the sending and receiving of simple and complex messages including, for example, survey responses, long-form issue reports, question and answers, proposal submissions, and voting. SMS is often used in conjunction with other feedback or communication methods as a way to increase participation to those who cannot be physically present. SMS also decreases the costs associated with organizing and running a participatory initiative as it reduces the need for physical spaces of assembly. 

Origins and Development

How it Works 

Voting by SMS has been used in Mongolia in the following way. First, the government distributed information about an upcoming referendum via SMS to citizens' phones. At a later date, the government distributed a form listing the referendum voting choices, via SMS to citizens' phones. When citizens made their vote using the form, the voting choices were transmitted by SMS to the government agency that administered the election.[1] 

Analysis and Lessons Learned

See Also 

Online Voting

References

[1] Hahn, A. (2018). Mongolia’s 2015 referendum via text messaging: Engaging rural and nomadic citizens in public screen deliberation. International Journal of Communication, 12, 4379-4400. Retrieved from https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/6134 

Piexoto, Tiago. (2012). Mobile phones and SMS: some data on inclusiveness. DemocracySpot. https://democracyspot.net/2012/09/28/how-inclusive-are-sms-facilitators-and-barriers-to-sms-use-among-the-low-income-mobile-users-in-asia/

Piexoto, Tiago. (2013). The Effect of SMS on Participation: Evidence from Uganda. DemocracySpot. https://democracyspot.net/2013/11/30/the-effect-of-sms-on-participation-evidence-from-uganda/

Schuler, Ian. (2008). SMS as a Tool in Election Observation. Innovations (Spring 2008), 143-157. https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/itgg.2008.3.2.143

External Links

A (Text) Message for Democracy (Open Society Foundations) 

Notes