This page is a brief overview of sources on the web that are useful for those interested in an informed and participating electorate. It is not meant to be complete but rather is a small collection of useful starting points on the web for those who want to become more informed about citizen participation in democracy. It was prepared as a long overdue update to a page on interesting websites for citizen participation. As is obvious from the out of date links on that page and the historically interesting but archiac references to "Mosaic" etc. that page was an early attempt to organize some of the civic participation information the web. Since that time, much has changed and much more is available. I encourage the webtraveller who has come here to visit the following much more complete sites.
The League of Women Voters, "a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. This is the website of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) and the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF). Many state and local Leagues of Women Voters also have websites." Their website includes calls for action and lobby requests. Contrary to their name, the LWV is open to anyone (males and females) interested in active participation in making democracy work.
Open Secrets is part of the Center for Responsive Politics. They provide the latest presidential campaign numbers "broken down by industry (see press release), total raised and spent, geography, top contributors to each candidate, and more. You can also look up donors to presidential candidates online. " In addition they provide FEC data for "campaign finance data for Congress, delegates, and everyone who ran for federal office in 1998". They provide a very useful search engine that allows one to examine contributions by donors, states, industry, or candidate.
The Electronic Policy Network is a project of the American Prospect. It has many fascinating links to mainly liberal causes. Some links to conservative causes.
The Center for Civic Networking is "a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to applying information infrastructure to the broad public good - particularly by putting information infrastructure to work within local communities to improve delivery of local government services, improve access to information that people need in order to function as informed citizens, broaden citizen participation in governance, and stimulate economic and community development
CCN conducts internally initiated projects, conducts projects in partnership with other organizations, consults to government and non-profit organizations, and conducts policy research and analysis. CCN staff members engage in ongoing educational, writing, and speaking activities.
The California Voter Foundation "is a nonprofit,non-partisan organization dedicated to applying new technologies to provide the public with access to the information needed to participate in public life in a meaningful way." They include links to the current major presidential candidate web pages, to "Follow the Money", a set of links to national, state (California) and local campaign contribution summaries.
The trust in government project (http://www.gspa.washington.edu/trust/tiglinks.html) is a project of the University of Washington Graduate School of Public Affairs and has pages devoted to civic participation links and civic journalism . Including:
The National School Board Association has a web page devoted to technology and Civic Partipation. "Electronic media have the potential of increasing civic participation immensely by facilitating communication directly from the home. In particular, computers and e-mail offer new tools such as listserv discussions. These are like e-mail clubs that people sign up for by sending an e-mail message saying they would like to join the discussion. Once a person has joined, they receive all the messages sent by other participants to the listerv address and all the messages that the individual sends to the listserv are automatically distributed to the other participants. The listserv can be moderated (by a facilitator who reviews all messages before they are sent out), or it can be un-moderated, with the message exchange happening automatically. In either case, citizens can be directly engaged with each other and their representatives in exchanging views on hot issues, referenda, new initiatives and other concerns.
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Department of Psychology
Prepared as a long overdue update to a page on interesting websites for citizen participation. As is obvious from the out of date links on that page and the historically interesting but archiac references to "Mosaic" etc. that page was an early attempt to organize some of the civic participation information the web. Since that time, much has changed and much more is available. 17-Aug-99