A to Z for E-Government and Democracy
The Continuum of Government Online Support for Democracy
(This was my outline for piece I had hoped to include in the G8 Government Online Services and Democracy Publication of which I was Co-Editor. Oh, well. Here it is now.)
By Steven Clift
All points assume the availability of remote electronic information access through the Internet.
A. Access to basic contact information.
B. Access to basic purpose and function information.
C. Access to basic government information on voting and elections.
D. Access to directories of government organizations and services.
E. Ability to contact the government organization through multiple methods including e-mail.
F. Access to detailed information explaining the decision-making process, public participation opportunities, and functioning of a government organization.
G. Timely access to up-to-date schedules of all public meetings, hearings, and other events that make up the formal decision-making process.
H. Ability to communicate electronically directly with individuals or appropriate contacts points within government organization as a part of the participatory, decision-making, or formal complaint process.
I. Use of informal online comment forms, surveys, and other feedback tools.
J. Consistent and reliable access to all legally disclosable government information generated as a part of the official decision-making process (legislative, administrative rulemaking, official recommendations from councils and other appointed bodies).
K. Provision of searchable information locator tools to indices or full text of publicly available government documents and information.
L. Push distribution of timely information or pre-set preference determined decision-making information as it becomes available on government information access systems.
M. Use of interactive technology (video or audio conferencing) to allow remote public testimony or observation as well as member attendance and voting at in-person public meetings.
N. Special interactive online events are hosted by government organizations to complement in-person public participation or education programs on government activities and public issues.
O. Ongoing use of interactive online events and communication spaces.
P. Establishment of formal electronic information request mechanisms for government information that is not available publicly online, but is legally available upon request.
Q. Access and remote use of database tools for access to detailed government budget, spending, and other public accountability information.
R. Access and remote use of database tools for access to legally available campaign finance, spending, elected official expense information and lobbyist information.
S. Automated remote access to drafts, internal proposals, and other more politically sensitive, but legally public documents. (Many laws prohibit this deep of access while others allow specific requests for documents to be met under various conditions.)
T. Ability to legally register to vote or update citizen registry information online.
U. Ability to vote in elections or referendums through ones preferred secure method including those that use information technology.
… V. W. X. Y. Z. – The A-Z for GOL and Democracy!