Election Universe

e-Democracy and the empowerment of citizens

e-Democracy and the empowerment of citizens
November 07 2016, 15:04

Photo courtesy of: http://beyondthe.eu/e-democracy-ukraine/

Political observers who are quick to spot movements just bubbling under the surface have recently taken notice of how e-Democracy is enabling more and more citizens to contribute in policy-making.

At its core, e-democracy (or digital democracy) is that political school of thought that espouses the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to promote democracy and engender greater citizenry participation in governance.

The movement is closely tied to the public’s growing disenchantment with big government over perception that it has become staid, stodgy and unresponsive to the needs of the 21st century citizenry.

One specific area that has already reaped concrete benefits from the movement is legislation.  As we speak, many legislative bills in France, Germany, and Switzerland already reside in git repositories, where they can be tweaked and collaborated on by interested citizens.

Traditionally, bills are drafted by legislative staff together with lobbyists and subject matter experts. More often than not, the public at large is kept out of the process. Little wonder that the prospect of being able to directly participate in crafting laws is catching the fancy of both policy wonks and ordinary citizens everywhere.

The movement has yet to catch on with the mainstream of political thought. Elected legislators, for one, are not likely to roll out the welcome carpet for a movement that can potentially usurp their authority.

Yet, the idea of e-Democracy has proven to be powerful that observers are betting that it will eventually wear down official resistance and be a commonplace.