September 14, 2007

Google Aims at More Transparency with Election Site ... Sunlight Foundation Tie would Make Even More Compelling

Google launched a new site to follow the 2007 Australian Federal Election, reports TechCrunch. It allows users to track news for specific members of the house of representatives as well as an easy search of the parliamentary record to track what officials have said and where they stand. There is also a nice mash up of You Tube.

I can't imagine this is far from coming the the States. At least I hope so. I, and surely others, are tired of navigating through the maze of horse race politics, and campaign rhetoric to find who the best candidates are. I don't have time to closely follow politics, but I would use a site that put the information I want right at my fingertips.

What would be even more compelling is for Google to open this site up so the likes of the Sunlight Foundation who could incorporate some of the public policy projects they've developed to bring more transparency and accountability to government.

Take Visualizing Earmarks, which graphs how money is earmarked for States and organizations.

Or Louis, whose goal it is to is "to create a comprehensive, completely indexed and cross-referenced depository of federal documents from the executive and legislative branches of government."

Or OpenHouse, a project aimed at "easy ways to begin the process of more effectively using technology to further transparency."

Or OpenCongress, which tracks the background behind each bill.

Check out Sunlight for other great projects.

Obviously, Google and Sunlight could create a powerful way for citizens to easily get smart on candidates to make better informed decisions.

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