E-democracy links

I’m currently in Austria at the e-voting in Europe workshop, so to balance my days of e-voting here are some recent links on e-democracy issues.

Firstly the Modernisation of the House of Commons Select Committee has released an excellent report, summarised on the Public Technology site. The committee’s first report has suggested major upgrades to Parliament’s website (which seems to be run on an astonishingly small budget – only £100,000 for the redesign in 2002). The report also encourages a greater use of online consultations along with considering allowing journalists to have their laptops in the gallery. All in all the report is very positive making sensible recommendations such as for improved communication through creating a visitor centre and instituting a weekly newsletter (in paper and online) of parliamentary happenings.

In a similar vein ePolitix.com reports the success of online forums in enabling communications between MPs and their constituents. The report is light on details so any more information would be welcome.

Finally, for the moment, BBC News has a decent e-democracy round-up on their site. The story works off John Kerry’s email pre-announcement of Edwards being his running-mate to a million online supporters. The article naturally harks back to the Dean campaign while also talking to a few academics. Pre-announcing via email is a small gesture, but it’s meaningful in an information age. I think his supporters would have appreciated it thus reinforcing their support for him. However such gestures do not directly win him any extra votes.