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e-Democracy update - 9/8/06 - Aussie podcasting for polititicans, Lamont's US net-roots and new ICELE e-democracy project

09 August, 2006
By Daniel Macpherson

Aussie e-political podcasting site started

A new website is hosting podcasts and videocasts from state and federal politicians in Australia.

The site allows politicians to publish "Polipods" through an automated telephone system.

You can listen some of the "Polipods" at Australian Politics Today.

Connecticut "net-roots" to change face of US politics?

Many political observers are wondering if online activism, or the "net-roots", has an impact on political campaigns after a big win for a candidate in the US state of Connecticut.

US Democrats in Connecticut voted today on their primary candidate for the upcoming senate race in November.

Candidate Ned Lamont beat incumbent three-term Senator Joseph Lieberman at 52% to 48%.

In May, Senator Lieberman had a significant lead over Mr Lamont at 65% to 19%.

Mr Lamont thanked the net-roots in his victory speech.

"A lot of folks said it was an impossible dream... but let me tell you we succeeded tonight because of you. Because of grassroots and because of net-roots," he said.

Before his win, many pundits were asking if the "net-roots" backing Lamont could play a larger part in building candidates' profiles and possibly winning elections in the future.

The answer after today appears to be "yes".

New local e-democracy project in UK

The UK Government have announced a new International Centre of Excellence for Local e-Democracy (ICELE) to help local authorities improve two-way engagement with communities.

British Councillor and ICELE Chairman Matthew Ellis says the centre will provide a focal point for advising and supporting local authorities and communities to enhance participation in the democratic process.

"Democracy is happening all around us. ICELE is all about enabling local councils to take advantage of new technologies, to get local people involved in local decisions, and to make a difference to local people's lives," he says.

"A key part of ICELE's work will be to better engage elected members in Local e-Democracy. ICELE will aim to raise awareness within the elected member community of the benefits Local e-Democracy.

"It will promote a wider understanding of associated tools and practices and how these can add value to the ways in which Members engage with their electorate, as well as to the electoral process as a whole."

The UK Government will officially launch the ICELE later this year.

New partnership to promote e-Democracy in US

Two major internet companies have announced they will join together to provide Internet-based video mail and video conferencing for elections and campaigns.

Campaign technology provider ElectionMall Technologies will partner with award-winning video service company SightSpeed and use their software to help political candidates communicate with their constituents.

ElectionMall Technologies chief executive officer Ravi Singh says the alliance offers new alternatives to traditional campaign advertising, which can save costs.

"Beyond campaign cost savings, the combination of SightSpeed's and ElectionMall's proven technologies will make it possible to bridge the gap between campaigns and voters, creating a true 'voterspace' and community atmosphere to change the way politics are conducted online," Mr Singh says.

Citizen Calling to track youth views on criminal justice

A new project in the UK will allow young people from 16 to 25 years old a chance to have their say on their experiences with the criminal justice system.

Citizen Calling aims to connect people and parliament through mobile phones.

The project, a joint venture between the UK Home Affairs Select Committee and the Hansard Society, is seeking views on how Parliament should look at the criminal justice system.

Registered users can reply to set question using text, video, audio and images.

The project will go live at the end of August.

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