Monday, April 20, 2009

Governance 2.0

In the opening panel, Secretary of States Jennifer Brunner (Ohio) and Debra Bowen (California) discussed how they used new media to disseminate information and engage with constituents.

Goals of 2.0 Governance

  • Using 2.0 solutions to increase democracy
  • Answering questions in a simple manner

Examples of 2.0 Governance
  • Google Voting- In a Partnership with Google, Secretaries of States gave Google polling information to streamline the voting process. Via Google Maps, anyone would be able to find out generically if they were registered to vote and where they were registered to vote.
  • Judicial Voter Guides- It’s often very difficult to learn about judicial candidates, yet these potential judges have some of the most impact on voters. Some states, including Ohio, created an online judicial voter guide where judicial candidates could upload basic information online so voters could compare and contrast the people they are voting for.
  • Specialized Websites- Some states create specialized websites that target specific constituents for particular issues.
  • Widgets- States have created widgets that allow people to register to vote. The Secretary of State’s office would then help them register to vote, and also sent election-related e-mail reminders.
  • Transparency- using the Internet to publish relevant documents and guides.

The Caveats
  • Web 2.0 activities are tied to budgets. With most states cutting costs, states wont be able to invest in new projects.
  • Neither facebook nor twitter can be used to discuss complex issues
  • Not every agency wants to engage in 2.0 solutions. Aside from having the infrastructure, the agency needs to have the right attitude.

Do your home states use 2.0 solutions for policy and voting engagement? Were they helpful?

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