The Politico ran a nice piece yesterday by Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry from Tech President about e-government in the US and the lack of platforms for the public to influence the policy making process. Expecting More from your E-Government starts with a challenge from Steve Clift:
“Isn’t it interesting that the best-designed government websites are those collecting your taxes, while the worst sites are those giving you a say on how your taxes are spent?” asks Steven Clift, a longtime e-democracy advocate.
They look at US e-government and see many applications for filing your ttaxes online and paying parking tickets, but few that ask for your input iin a meaningful way. Then they compare what we see in the US with what is going on elsewhere:
"Experiments with more participatory approaches to government are blossoming all over the world. In Estonia, for example, an official website called “Today I Decide,” launched by the government press office, allows citizens to comment on draft laws and submit their own ideas for new ones. If a majority of online voters support a draft bill, it is forwarded to the relevant government department for review. Last fall in New Zealand, the government launched a wiki (a site that anyone can edit) to solicit citizen input on the wording of a new national Policing Act before it was formally introduced in parliament."
"Similarly, in France, the Parliament Law Commission recently launched a website seeking the public’s help in simplifying laws to make them more readable and understandable. Two weeks later, more than 80 pages of comments had been submitted and published. French citizens can also participate in an online forum on the parliament’s website to comment on laws currently being considered. (Our friends at the Sunlight Foundation, which we advise, have started a similar effort in the United States, called PublicMarkup.org, around a draft bill on government transparency.)"
"In England, anyone can submit an e-petition directly on the 10 Downing Street website, and the most popular ones are featured on the site’s home page. More than 7 million people — one in 10 British citizens — have signed one of those petitions since the site’s launch in the fall of 2006. “The next stage is to enable e-petitioners to connect with each other around particular issues and to link up with policy debates both on and off government Web space,” says member Tom Watson, the parliamentary secretary of the Cabinet Office and a leader of the British government’s e-democracy efforts."
Check it out