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Subject: E-Democracy Presentation - Stockholm May 30
From: Steven L Clift <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:BIBLIST - Topics in Nordic research library user services <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 25 May 1996 07:18:16 -0500

TEXT/PLAIN (131 lines)

Distribution Note:  I hope this announcement is of interest.
I scanned the Internet for targeted individials and organizations
for its distribution.  Please forward this note to others you
think might be interested. Thanks.

You are invited to a presentation on:

                    Electronic Democracy Today:
               The Minnesota E-Democracy Experience

In 1994 a group of volunteers in Minnesota came together to create
the world's first election-oriented World-Wide-Web site.  It received
considerable local, national, and even global media attention. More
importantly the Minnesota E-Democracy project has lived on to become
an active and vibrant model for citizen-based electronic democracy

Steven L. Clift, founder and current Board Chair, will give a
presentation on the Minnesota E-Democracy experience and detail the
components of a successful citizen-based project.  There will be time
for discussion and questions.  Event details:

        19:OO - 20:30, Thursday, May 30
        F706 (F House, 7th Floor)
        Stockholm University
        Stockholm, Sweden

The event is open to the public, but seating may be limited.  Please
send a note with the subject line "Sweden E-Dem" with your full name,
any affilations if you like, and e-mail address to:
        [log in to unmask]
(Once I return to United States in June I will compile the addresses
sent in and send them to those who attend the session.)

Minnesota E-Democracy ( is
called "the best example of using the Internet to support active
citizen participation in the election process" by the Center for Civic
Networking.  The project mission statement reads, "Minnesota E-Democracy
is a non-partisan citizen-based project, whose mission is to improve
Minnesota's democracy through the use of information networks. It seeks
to increase citizen participation in elections and public discourse
through online civic forums and collections of important information."

Along with Steven Clift's volunteer work with Minnesota E-Democracy, he
works for the Information Policy Office, State of Minnesota and
coordinates Minnesota's government-wide WWW project called North Star
(  He is currently on leave through the month
of May working with the Statskontoret (Swedish Agency for Administrative
Development).  He has made a number of presentations on government online
efforts and electronic democracy to various groups in Sweden.


Enclosed is a recent esssay written by Steven Clift which concisely
presents the motivation and purposes of citizen-based electronic
democracy efforts:

Putting Pen to Paper:
Electronic Democracy, Write On!

By Steven L. Clift, [log in to unmask]
Founder and Board Chair, Minnesota E-Democracy

Imagine a world where the only communication tools are paper and
pens. In this society there are only three actors.  They are the
business-media, the government, and the citizens.

There is plenty of paper to go around.  However, only the business-
media and the government  have pens and therefore the ability to
distribute written words.  It only takes one a moment to realize who
has real power and a voice in agenda setting in this world.

Citizen-based "electronic democracy" is about getting pens to the

It is about making the online communication tools for many-to-many
civic discussions, organizing, and public involvement widely
available.  It is based on the belief that open communication and
participation is the foundation of democracy.  Electronic democracy
is also about the important need to prepare people to communicate
effectively and responsibly in this interactive medium.  The value
of citizen exchange and public communication is contingent on
each individuals contribution and respect for others and their
expression of views.  It is where citizens see themselves as active
producers of ideas and opinions not just consumers of information.

At this very moment electronic democracy is a part of our "real
democracy." It is not a replacement, however it is changing its
nature.  However, it will only thrive and lead to improved
democracies across the world if individuals and organizations come
together to build shared online "civic centers".  An online
civic center requires a local/regional base that has relevant
appeal.  Experience shows that long-term individual and
organizational committment and participation must be built one
person at a time.

The civic center is built through the use of online tools like
electronic conferencing and the shared development of civic content
through the World-Wide-Web.  It represents a third ring of

electronic communication that is in part overlapped by the business-
media and government rings on either side.  The civic center gives
electronic democracy its citizen-based authenticity and relevancy.
Building on the strengths, tools, and content of the other rings, it
is where electronic democracy will grow and thrive.

+                                       +                          +

Minnesota E-Democracy was launched in the late summer of 1994 with
the world's first election-oriented WWW site.  For more information
on the project's history and current activities please visit:

Or join the project's low volume MN-DEMOCRACY e-mail announcement
list by sending a message to:

        [log in to unmask]

In the text area, write:

        subscribe mn-democracy

Copyright 1996, Steven Clift.  This posting may be freely
redistributed in its entirety.  Permission to redistribute this
essay to public e-mail lists or publication in print is granted
immediately upon notification of the author
at:  [log in to unmask]       Version 2.1 - May 10, 1996

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