Digital democracy discussion on Sarah Schact's chapter in Open Democracy
DEMOCRACY,UNDER EVERYTHING Sarah Schacht Discussion prepared by Eric Burgess Digital Democracy, Summer 2012 Kathy E. Gill, MCMD
Technology has enabled us in recent years to want to be more involved in the democratic process.
The tools and systems we use to get information from Congress are archaic and outdated, the different networks often can’t talk to one another.
It’s easier to get the snowpack of your favorite mountain than it is to get updated information on a state bill.
Since the revolutionary period, Americans have always had frustration with inaccessible public records.
Some state and local governments actually charge citizens toaccess legislative information!
Many of the legislative information available to the public requires those to have a law degree to read.
Short-Term Solutions for Citizens to Improve Civic Engagement • Be knowledgeable • Focus on quality over quantity • Clearly identify your emails • Forego the use of form letters
Long-Term Solutions for the Government to Improve Civic Engagement • Use XML to disseminate data • Use open source tools
QUESTIONSSchacht argues that it’s not the things that are getting morepolitical (school lunches, urban trees, ﬁsh in the ocean) but it’sus who are. Do you agree or not?How connected do you feel to the legislative process? Doyou feel like you can look up a speciﬁc bill when you need?Where do you do it? When did you last do it?Why has it taken the government so long to update theirsystems? Is this intentional?
CREDITSMain Source:Lathrop, Daniel, and Laurel Ruma. Open Government: [collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice]. Sebastopol, CA: OReilly,2010. Print.Photo Credits:“President Obama sitting with Steve Grove, head of news and politics at YouTube” by The White House hhttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/whitehouse/4344884802/“Teddy Roosevelt lays the cornerstone of Cannon House Ofﬁce Building - 1906” by the US Capitol Government Work (USCapitol) http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/uscapitol/6354905837/“Ancient Writings...” by Mikko Luntiala (mikko_luntiala) http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/mikko_luntiala/5370221430/“A fool and his money” by David Groehring (CarbonNYC) http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/5747629074/“Yale Law School Building” by Stepping Out (stepnout) http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/stepnout/278392548/“Citizens Government Academy” by the City of Murietta, GA (mariettaga) http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/mariettaga/5595594797/“Capitol Hill, Washington, DC” by Adnan Islam (orangeadnan) http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/adnanbangladesh/4917853713/