December 27, 2008

A Web Based Voter Rating System for Election Services

There are people who love to write and there are people who have strong opinions about things. Put them together, along with the power of the Internet and you have a recipe for lots of user generated reviewers. We all know about reader generated book reviews on Amazon as well as those connected with about every major retail outlet on the web. Yelp allows users to rate businesses as well as public services with restaurant reviews of San Francisco restaurants being most popular with 4,334 reviews and religious organizations being last with 142.

In addition to private sector reviews there are some other user generated review sites. For instance, Great Schools allows parents to rate schools. And GreatNonprofits lets folks write reviews of nonprofit organizations. But what about a site that specifically rates government services? (Couldn't find any but if you come across one let me know).

Newt Gingrich, in an essay in Rebooting America, suggests that his site, American Solutions, is launching Rate Your Government, which will bring the groundbreaking system of user ratings and feedback that made eBay so successful; to citizens and their government agencies. He says, "Obviously this project will allow citizens to voice frustrations with government services, but more importantly it can surface government systems that are working so they can be emulated nationwide."

Now, what about a site that specifically rates election services? What would happen if voters were allowed to rate the services provided by poll workers? Imagine voters giving that kind of real feedback to election officials - improvements in service delivery would surely be made. And Democracy might improve.

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