Site – US “Who Voted” Website Provides Public Access to Voter Lists

November 7th, 2008


This ought to stir up some discussion. I’ve often felt use of this data in electronic bulk format by candidates campaigns to limit outreach to the most active voters was a state subsidy for exclusion. This is particularly true for local election where local candidates can easily concentrate outreach on the most likely voters … on the other hand it could be viewed as a way to keep the costs of campaigning under control. And in 1998 folks with Jesse Ventura’s insurgent third party campaign used this data to specifically target less frequent voters. The site below will raise awareness of the fact that this data has generally been available, just not online for all to use.

Steven Clift

Subject: “Who Voted” Website Provides Public Access to Voter Lists
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2008 11:57:02 -0800 (PST)
From: Todd Davies

CONTACT: Todd Davies (davies at csli dot stanford dot edu)

“Who Voted” Website Provides Public Access to Voter Lists

As voters go to the polls around the U.S. this week, a new website is promoting
the need for easy public access to voter lists. The site, called “Who Voted?”,
provides free web access to voter histories – the official lists of those who
are recorded as having voted in government elections. Site visitors can now
view records for four states — Florida, Idaho, Ohio, and Washington — by
searching on a name, voter registration number, or zip code. The site is live

The Who Voted project grew out of a Google Summer of Code grant to Computer
Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), but the current website and the
views it represents are independent of CPSR. Who Voted is being hosted as a
research prototype on a server located at Stanford University. Members of the
project team include Todd Davies, Jeffrey Gerard, Reid Chandler, and Gordon

The Who Voted team plans to upload data from more states in the future.
Meanwhile, the team hopes to spark a conversation about the need for public
access to voter lists. Many states restrict the ability of the public to
access voter data, through laws that prevent its general release and/or high
fees for obtaining the data.

Since the late 19th Century, public elections in the United States, and in most
other countries, have utilized a secret ballot. This means that no one except
the individual voter is supposed to know for which candidates or propositions
that voter voted. The secret ballot protects voters’ privacy and generally
prevents the buying and coercion of votes. While it is widely viewed as
essential to democracy in large modern societies, the secret ballot makes
election results difficult to verify, and removes a communicative function in
the act of voting.

The Who Voted website attempts to address these problems while maintaining
ballot secrecy and voter privacy. It makes already-public information about who
voted, which is usually difficult to access, available to everyone for free via
the web. Citizens may check their own or others’ voter histories for personal
interest, or to verify that they were properly recorded as voting (or not
voting) in a particular election. These poll book entries generally mean that a
voter showed up at a poll, or cast an absentee ballot. It is still possible
for a vote to be invalidated later in the process.

In addition to promoting public verification of voter lists, another goal of
the Who Voted project is to spark conversation about the meaning of voting
itself as a socially responsible act. Research by political economist Patricia
Funk has shown that citizens are more likely to participate politically when
the fact that one has voted is publicly visible.

The site’s URL is For more information, contact Todd
Davies (davies at csli dot stanford dot edu).

Change.Gov – The Official Web Site of the The U.S. Presidential Transition

November 6th, 2008

This is clearly a site in the works. It is changing before my eyes. If you have trouble pulling it up, below in the text from the home page as of 1:20 p.m. Central.

A few notes:

1. .Gov Sort Of – While using a .Gov domain, the “Obama-Biden Transition Project” say they are a 501c(4) organization, so that is interesting.

2. E-mail Opt-in – The top item is the option to leave an e-mail address and your zip code. Yes! Finally a government … ish site that realizes the most important hit is an opt-in e-mail connection that allows people to say “tell me when something is new.”

3. Public Input – The site is asking for public input!!!! “Tell us your story – – and the issues that matter most to you. Share with us your concerns and hopes – . � the policies you want to see carried out in the next four years.”

I wonder what they will do with a few million submissions? Perhaps crowd-source ratings to bring the best submissions (or most gamed) to the top for many to read.

If you’d like to advise the next administration on ways to use the Internet in governance and “pitch in” as President-elect Obama requested the other night … join the U.S. Democracy Online Exchange to trade notes and advice. While some of you may have a track to Obama insiders, why provide input the old-fashioned closed beltway kind of way?

Instead, live the dream of a new participatory politics by publicly sharing your input, advice, reactions, and ideas so they will be noticed by the builders of the next WhiteHouse.Gov and others. By crowd sourcing advice for use of the Internet in governance your great technical/political/design mind can not only influence Federal developments, but also efforts at the local and state level. This is it. What happens in the next three months will determine just how interactive the next four to eight years of American democracy will be NOT just to win and election but to meet public challenges and govern.

Join the U.S. Democracy Online Exchange online group (a combo e-list, web forum (no e-mail setting), blog feed, simple social net) from:

Steven Clift
Democracies Online


Thursday, November 06, 2008 | 75 Days Until Inauguration – The Official Web Site of the The U.S. Presidential Transition
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“I ask you to believe – not just in my ability to bring about change, but in yours. I know this change is possible�because in this campaign, I have had the privilege to witness what is best in America. I’ve seen it in lines of voters that stretched around schools and churches; in the young people who cast their ballot for the first time, and those not so young folks who got involved again after a very long time. I’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see their friends lose their jobs; in the neighbors who take a stranger in when the floodwaters rise; in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb. I’ve seen it in the faces of the men and women I’ve met at countless rallies and town halls across the country, men and women who speak of their struggles but also of their hopes and dreams.”

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Conference – World e-Parliament Conference 2008 – Brussels 25-26

October 14th, 2008

Subject: Announcement about the World e-Parliament Conference 2008 for
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 11:22:29 +0200
From: Ludovica Cavallari –

*World e-Parliament Conference 2008*


The United Nations, through the Department of Economic and Social
Affairs (UN/DESA, the European Parliament
( ) and the
Global Centre for ICT in Parliament (_http://www.ictparliament.org_) ,
are organizing the World e-Parliament Conference 2008 on 25-26 November
at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The *World e-Parliament Conference 2008* represents a unique opportunity
for leaders and members of parliaments, parliamentary officials and
experts to exchange views at a global level on the impact of new
technologies as tools to strengthen the representative, legislative and
oversight functions of regional and national assemblies.

This event builds on the results of the World e-Parliament Conference
2007, held in Geneva in October 2007, and on the outcome of the World
e-Parliament Report 2008, the first publication on this topic issued by
the United Nations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Global Centre
for ICT in Parliament on 28 February 2008.

The World e-Parliament Conference 2008 is principally aimed at members
of parliaments, secretaries general, parliamentary staff and officials,
experts from international organizations and academics who work and deal
with information and communication technologies as instruments to
improve and modernize parliamentary business and citizens� participation
in public decision-making processes.

Specifically, at the Conference, the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament
and its partners intend to present and launch guidelines, tools and
concrete outputs developed in the past year to help parliaments assess
and benchmark their technological level and/or adopt new technologies in
the parliamentary environment.

Around 400 participants are expected to take part in the general debate
and parallel tracks forming the World e-Parliament Conference 2008 to
enrich the discussion around the challenges and benefits provided by the
daily use of ICT and the analysis of successful approaches, good
practices and lessons learned. Selected presentations will be delivered
by renowned experts and parliamentary officials to showcase cutting edge
solutions and case studies.

At the Conference, interpretation will be provided in English, French
and Spanish.

More information can be obtained by visiting the website of the
conference at:

*The Global Centre for ICT in Parliament*
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 251
00186 Rome, Italy
Tel (+ 39) 06 68136320 ext. 214
Fax (+39) 06 68211960

20 e-democracy research questions from a practitioner

September 26th, 2008

The other month I asked folks on the practitioner-oriented DoWire.Org e-consultation forum – – about research questions they’d like to see answered.

I’ve just put the finishing touches on my keynote speech to the EDem2008 conference in Krebs, Austria – – next week and I’d rather not put the audience to sleep with a laundry list of questions smashed on to some slides. So here they are to the world and likely most of the people I’ll have the honor to meet next week.

If you’d like to discuss these questions, hop onto the E-Democracy Research Exchange – – or better yet, say hello in Krebs.

Steven Clift

20 Questions – E-Democracy Research Questions/Topics

A rough list of research questions from a practitioner perspective prepared by Steven Clift, – for the EDem2008 conference in Krebs, Austria:

1. Time use studies – Where are people (and different types of people) actually spending their time online/on-screen? Insights would be much more useful than just what people are clicking on regularly or have done once or regularly. Governments et al continue to underestimate the value of e-mail and have little understanding of the preciousness of an actual “citizen” site visitor.

2. How do you design personalized information services about politics and government that people will find useful?

3. Is Facebook/MySpace/LinkedIn etc. building a sense of “public life” – bridging social capital? Does it manifest itself in local communities? Are there blocks/barriers that keep networking oriented to private/business life?

4. Civic/government video on-demand via cable television, Tivo access, etc. advantages/possibilities versus computer/Internet-only.

5. How does one have the greatest influence on open source projects in terms of introducing social good goals? Can you gain support for integrating geographic support against the expectation that the Internet is global and helps one escape place?

6. We need broad baseline representative survey that moves beyond Internet use in elections or political news seeking to participation in governance, community building, neighbor to neighbor connection etc. –

7. With Issues Forums � – and other local e-democracy “interventions” we longitudinal starting point surveys on general population/participant/former participant online political activities/trust in government/civic desires/forum expectations/etc. that allow comparisons before and after interventions.

8. Cost-benefit analysis – With limited funding, what can a community get out of 10,000 Euros, 100,000 Euros, 1,000,000 Euros – what creates the most value now, what investments lower costs for next generation activities?

9. Research on government staffing and budget allocations to e-democracy activities. Does a government have staff assigned to provide e-democracy services? If yes, how many and where are they positioned? Does a government have a “democracy portal” (or website section) and do public participation staff (if they exist) or do public information (PR) staff maintain that directory/content? Compare governments to other governments, per capita spending on e-democracy. Allowances for parliamentary/executive structural differences would be required.

10. Interview those in power (promise anonymity) about their real attitudes toward public participation and e-democracy opportunities. Would they allocate resources (how much) to provide personalized notification of new decision-making content even if it would provide the public timely and effective information access and potentially reduce their power? Quantitative and qualitative surveys of elected officials and civil servants.

11. Compare the legal frameworks and recent law/rule changes that require the use of the Internet for greater government transparency, openness, consultation, etc. Identify what brought about those changes (election promises, agency proposals, citizen lobbying, etc.) and draft model legislation with policy options clearly laid out.

12. Identify the resistance points to timely and deep online access to decision-making information and public meeting documents – before, during, and after meetings.

13. What is the impact of timely information access – some before and after research. Does it reduce citizen mistrust or reduce the occurrences of citizen �you didn�t inform me on time� anger that show up at public meetings.

14. Estonia. Estonia. Estonia. The document register, e-cabinet, x-road, TID, consultation portal, etc. – dig in and provide analysis of who, what, when, why, where, usage, and lessons.

15. Open source opportunities for e-democracy. What are the twenty top candidates for e-democracy tool creation of mutual interest by governments/civil society/media? Compare potential costs and sustainability of new stand alone tools versus creating modules for use with leading open source content management systems.

16. What is the path to direct legislative, etc. database sharing in XML from government to third parties? Why do groups like MySociety (UK), GovTrack (US), etc. need to “scrape” legislative data from websites to convert into XML for others instead of direct real-time government provision? Related question – Most local governments do not have legislative information systems like national and regional parliaments. Design a prototype local legislative (decision-making) system and open standards.

17. What are the best models for parliamentary/legislative technology/information staff to work together to advance online services – vision, staffing, future features? What features do these inside leader see/seek to develop and how can they be supported?

18. Compare opportunities for public investment in public interest content and interactivity online with and beyond the confines public broadcasting. Compare public broadcasters, major media/news web 2.0/e-democracy/e-participation strategies and approaches within and across countries.

19. Analyze citizen-based “local-up” uses of online tools and models for political participation. Document success/failure factors. Do comparative qualitative analysis of the deliberative/civil nature of exchange under different formats/rules/facilitation/hosting ownership, etc. Explore relative value for input costs and the line at which too much agenda control reduced civic value.

20. Model a system that provide yearly distribution of 10 Euros/Dollar per capita from government in your country to support civil society and multi-level government e-democracy/public interest online content/interactivity/services. Design a mechanism that distributes those resources and provides for accountability and the leveraging of experience, technology, and project accountability.

Former Korean President Launches Democracy2.KR

September 22nd, 2008



Thanks to Google translation (which when you cut and paste seems to share both languages):

‘???? ??, ???? ??’? ???? Free conversation, deep conversation, and look forward to

Now, democracy, 2.0, open the door. ?? ???? ???? ?? ????, ??? ????? ???? ??? ?????. The schedule was delayed more than originally planned, I still could not meet a satisfactory system. ??? ?? ???? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?? ? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?????. However, with the participation of citizens will be able to go out and complements the lack of a point to start. ??? ?????? ????? ???? ???? ??????. Preparing for a job well done in the Frontier Thank you.

‘????2.0’? ???? ??? ????. ‘Democracy 2.0′ Injection is a citizen of the conversation. ??? ????? ?? ??? ‘??? ??’?? ?? ???? ???? ?? ??? ??? ? ?? ???? ???. The core values of a mature democracy, dialogue and compromise, and to the sovereignty of the communication between the citizens must be a step forward. ??? ?? ???? ??, ??? ??? ???? ???. A lot of communication should be transferred, and the level of communication is also nopahjyeoya.

?? ???? ???? ?? ??, ??? ???? ?? ??? ??? ??? ????. A lot of our society and the media, the Internet world, and many of my comments and that is overflowing. ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?? ? ???? ??? ?? ?? ??? ????. However, the voice of one of the media world is too big a balance sheet of the communication can not be. ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???, ??? ??? ??? ????? ???? ?? ??? ????. A lot of people talk freely in the Internet world, but most of the structure is a simple argument and a brief comment, so to improve the level of information and knowledge are the limits to take advantage.

???? ????, ???? ??? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ‘????2.0’? ?????. Talk freely, but he made the conversation that people want to create space for Democracy 2.0 ‘is the theme of. ??? ??, ? ??? ???? ??, ??, ?? ?? ?? ?? ??? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?? ????? ??·??? ? ??? ???? ????. Pick a theme, the theme of the Q & A, discussion, research and knowledge to produce high-quality depth to proceed systematically who will try to take advantage of accumulation. ?? ??? ????? ???? ??? ??? ??? ?? ??? ? ? ??, ??? ??? ??? ????. What is the depth of focus in the dialog jujedeun through, and if you can get a little closer to the truth, the depth of knowledge will also arise.

? ???? ?? ?????. That is the driving force participation of the citizens. ‘????2.0’? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?? ???? ????. ‘Democracy 2.0 of the operating is entirely made by civic participation. ??? ??? ???, ??? ???? ?, ??? ???? ???? ???? ?, ????? ???? ??? ??? ???? ? ?? ?? ?? ??? ???? ??? ????? ? ????. Discussion of the topic set, an ongoing discussion, and design and edit a configuration screen, further improve the structure and function of the system, such as a citizen, and all the work will be to lead a private citizen. ?2.0, ????, ?? ??? ??? ??? ????. Web 2.0, collective intelligence, you will want to apply this concept. ‘??’, ‘??’, ‘??’? ?2.0? ??? ‘??’??? ??? ?? ???? 2.0? ?????? ???? ???. ‘Open’, ’share’, ‘participation’ in the spirit of Web 2.0 ‘responsible’ adds to the value of democracy if it is 2.0 of the operating principle is made.

‘????2.0’? ???? ??? ????? ??? ??? ?? ? ??? ??? ??? ? ????. ‘Democracy 2.0′ does not lead the discussion of the management and systems management responsibilities will be required for the operation. ??? ?? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ????, ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ? ?? ??? ?? ??? ??? ? ?????. Right now, the minimum required to form a human resources management in the past but the future of the Foundation organized nature of the conditions is gongikjeok the public is the foundation plans to make the operating principal.

‘????2.0’? ??? ??? ???? ????? ?????? ??? ????. ‘Democracy 2.0′ from the start of the purpose and goals will be difficult to work satisfactorily. ????? ?? ????. There will be trial and error. ??? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ?? ??? ??????? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?? ? ?? ????. However, the participation of the public only gets done smoothly and we’re sovereign citizens the right time to create a valuable dialogue of the square will be able to get out. ?????? ???? ??? ?????. Look forward to the active participation of citizens.

?????. Thank you.

2008? 9?18? September 18, 2008

??? Roh Moo-hyun

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