1 Technologies in Practice, Theoretical Computer Science, The Department2 IT management and leadership, The Department3 Culture, Aesthetics, Organisations and Society, The Department4 Business IT, IT University of Copenhagen
Digitalizing electoral processes entails substantial changes to the materialities on which such processes rely, and hence to how they are practiced, organized, and, in turn, how they may be analyzed and reflected upon. As researchers in the Danish strategic research project DemTech, which investigates whether it is possible to ‘modernize’ the Danish electoral process without jeopardizing the trust of the voters, we have met a multitude of ideas about the present and future ways of doing elections in Denmark, e.g. their perceived advantages and disadvantages. In this paper based on ethnographic work-in-progress we will focus on one particular ‘problem’ which emerges in light of the project and the current efforts to digitalize electoral processes. That is, the problem of how a vote is constituted and defined as such; how the ways in which a vote works are related to its (potential) material/technological manifestations, and how it is handled, processed, counted and accounted for. In other words we will discuss, drawing on current STS and anthropological approaches to ontology, technology, politics and democracy, what it takes for a vote to become a vote, what it means that a vote is both a product and producer of 'the state', ‘citizenship' and ‘democracy’, and what it means if a vote cannot be defined as one exact ‘thing’, but instead may, simultaneously, be many things at once.