Network chair and executive director of the GovLab Beth Simone Noveck today published a post for the Sunlight Foundation focused on the importance of citizen participation to enable true transparency, with a variety of examples and opportunities.
“If we pushed for more true transparency, we would likely have much better ways to enable the American people to participate directly in the legislative drafting process. This is not a pipe dream. In Finland, Open Ministry helps citizens develop proposals for consideration before the parliament. In Iceland, the Constitutional Council, which is tasked with creating a more modern constitution, solicited citizen feedback throughout the drafting process. Each week, the Council posted a new proposed clause online, allowing citizens to comment or wholly rewrite the section. In Latvia, Mana Balss (My Voice) gives citizens a chance to set the debate agenda for their representatives, and Latvian politicians have agreed to debate any citizen-created petition submitted to Mana Balss that receives over 10,000 votes of support from other users. Just last month, the Buenos Aires city council introduced the Demos Project using DemocracyOS, a platform on which citizens debate and propose changes to bills, which representatives are then committed to discuss and consider.