It is sorely tempting to write about all of the great apps and widgets that are making this election happen. Whether it's Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, whoever handles the affairs of state will be entering a relatively new political sphere in which voters and citizens have greater expectations around accountability, transparency, and insight into the workings of government.
All of this is part of the idea of an "open government" - or as the Open Government Chicago Meetup might put it:
...government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." We believe that citizens should consider government to be "us", not "them." This meetup is for citizens who are interested in seeing their federal, state, and local government function more efficiently and responsively. We are inspired by people who are actively building tools and experimenting with solutions along these lines, like the Sunlight Foundation and GovTrack. We believe that open source software practices and internet culture provide good examples of how people can work cooperatively on complex problems to produce meaningful results...
So what's the idea? Basically, it's about making government data more open - and accessible - for citizens. (Think web-based tools like EveryBlock). It's also about driving connections between the electors and the elected - that the community can come together and collaborate towards the common good.
Regardless of how you vote - or who wins - I cordially invite you to consider participating in the Open Government Chicago Meetup. They have an event this Thursday focusing on the city clerk's office, and there are a few spaces left. However, I would seriously suggest joining them and learning more about what's happening - after all, part of this election has focused on facts vs. opinions, and being well-educated in how government works always results in positive effects.
As always, thanks for reading!