Primary needs for political tools

For years I’ve been watching my old pal Britt Blaser work to improve the means by which citizens manage their elected politicians, and otherwise improve governance in our democracy.

Now comes Diane Francis, veteran columnist for the National Post in Canada (but yes, she’s an American), summarizing the good that should come from Britt’s latest: iVote4U, and its trial run toward the elections in New York coming up in just a few days. New York’s Digitized Dems Can Take Over City Council Sept. 15, says the headline. In addition to the Drupal sites of the last two links, there is a Facebook app as well.

The idea, sez Britt, is “to give voters a way to manage their politicians as easily as they manage their iTunes”. If you’re a New Yorker who plans to vote next week, give it a whirl. If enough of you do, you might begin to see what we call Government Relationship Management (or GRM) at work.

iVote4U pioneers as a fourth party service.Follow that link for more on what I mean by that; or check out Joe Andrieu’s series on user driven services. If we want government that is truly of, by and for the people, we need tools that give meaning to those prepositions. Especially the first two. Britt has dedicated his life to providing those tools. Give them a try.

You don’t need to be a Democrat, by the way. These tools should work equally well for voters of all political bendings.

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  1. lurkerfan’s avatar

    Hmmm — GRM — sounds a bit grim, as voters’ challenge in the management of politicians, their supposed employees, is bound to be.

    I wish Blaser well. I’ve come to political activism late in my life, and although thrilled with the Internet’s ability to deliver information, I’ve been frustrated as to how ordinary citizens can regain any control over elected officials. It’s encouraging that he is soldiering on to provide effective tools.

  2. Joey Mornin’s avatar

    This is a cool project–I hope it does well!

    I was at the PDF ’09 conference in NYC this past summer, where Britt (with David Weinberger and Joe Trippi) announced the iVote4U app. Many audience members, including me, objected to the use of a credit card to verify the user’s identity. It looks like this feature (i.e., bug) has been removed–well done. But I think there are still some serious design problems that will keep this app from gaining the widespread use–and wide use is necessary to make politicians pay serious attention.

    I’m interested in using social media tools like Facebook apps to improve civic engagement and government accountability. How can I help?

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