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e-Democracy - Citizens Have a Say at Change.gov

Feb 02, 2009 10:14AM

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Although Barack Obama’s isn’t the first online presidency, it promises to provide the most lively partnership with citizens seeking real interactivity. During the Obama campaign, “When people commented on something, they saw things happen,” says Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, a nonprofit promoting government accountability and transparency. “That’s what the people are expecting the president to do now.”

Engaged citizens who want to render an opinion about what’s right or wrong with government, share an idea or join in the discussion, simply click on “Submit a Story” or “Join the Discussion” at Change.gov. The website exemplifies how President Obama intends to harness technology to create a cutting-edge, participatory democracy, similar to the way he used Internet connectivity to transform campaigning.

The idea is premised on the digital world’s potential to make the country one large, cyber-town-hall meeting. Ideally, every citizen will have a window into the workings of government and an opportunity to tell elected leaders what they think of it. The move inherently requires federal employees across agencies to alter the way they operate.

“It’s a radical change,” says Art Schwartz, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology. “But it’s in line with the way our government is supposed to work.”

Source: The Christian Science Monitor.

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