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Presentation to the House of Representatives of a joint study by the VUB and the ULB: an analysis of electoral abstention

This study, an initiative of itsme®, is carried out by Cevipol (Centre d’Étude de la Vie Politique de l’ULB) and POLI (Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen of the VUB). This project aims to fill in the gaps in research on participation in elections and to open up the debate on solutions that would make it possible to combat citizens’ disaffection with elections.

In addition to ensuring the highest level of privacy in the digital world, the itsme® app wants to make a constructive contribution to the challenges that the state and its citizens will face in the upcoming elections. This is the fundamental reason why Belgian Mobile ID undertook this project: to understand and analyse the root causes of the growing unwillingness to vote in order to identify solutions that can reverse the trend and contribute, through online voting, to a potential increase in voter turnout.

Since 2017, the itsme® app allows users to identify themselves, confirm digital transactions and officially sign documents using their smartphone. The itsme® app is easy to use, secure and privacy-friendly. Since January 2018, itsme® has been recognised by the government (BoSa) as a means of identification offering a “high” level of assurance. The same applies at EU level since December 2019.

This digital identification app has passed the 5.5 million active user mark. To achieve this, collaborations have been set up with numerous partners from different sectors. The app is used as a means of identification and authentication by more than 150 companies, and about 550 companies use it as an electronic signature.

The second part of this report clearly demonstrates that electoral absenteeism is a complex problem, for which there is no single solution.

Nevertheless, the simplification of the voting process, and more specifically remote voting, is certainly an element that could encourage more abstentionists to vote.

Click here to download the study.