Democratic election and consultation tools

Sam Liddicott sam at
Tue Feb 28 13:52:58 UTC 2012

There are local government elections in my area coming up; the the usual
occasion for candidates to nod to local concerns in a way that will
ultimately fail to distinguish them in any way from eachother.

I spoke with one candidate who sites on the Neighbourhood Management Board
which I chair to discover if he had any intentions of making use of new
technology (or not so new) to engage with constituents and undertake
straw-polls and opinion gathering.

It appears that such things are not supported by local party office but
depend on the efforts and interest of individual candidates. I can only
suppose that the main parties fear obsolescence in the same way that the
music moguls do - when vote opinion may be conveyed rapidly and precisely
to able administrators the political parties will be demoted to special
interest groups lobbying the voters instead of the other way around.

However the candidate expressed an interest in such public consultation
tools as might be made available if the expertise could be provided.

After some thought, though, it is hard to imagine something more useful or
usable than a facebook-poll which allows simultaneously the voting on
propositions and gathering of opinions - but of course only for those who
use facebook.

I therefore think it was to consult here and ask what systems for
collaboration and engagement are known to readers of this mailing list, and
what experience (if any) do readers have with such systems.

Presently it is all too easy for elected representatives to not quite be
able to do things they were planning on not doing, and doing with glory
that which was already planned. Such tools as may bring like minded
citizens together to understand their problems better and the strength of
support would help ensure proper representation and accountability.



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