a m e r i c a ’ s P l a n c H a P t e r 1 5 concerning local community projects.66 The state of New York another patent application with public participation.71 This has released a series of Web-based tools to engage residents in kind of knowledge-sharing platform can reduce the cost of the state’s budgetary challenges, including an online calculator policymaking and improve government performance. that allows individuals to create their own proposal to balance the budget.67 Maine has engaged residents in the budgeting pro- ReCoMMeNDaTioN 15.12: the executive branch and inde- cess through a similar online budget-balancing tool as well.68 pendent agencies should expand opportunities for ameri- cans with expertise in technological innovation to serve in 15.4 IncreasInG the federal government.Because many of the best ideas come from outside government, InnoVatIon In Innovation Corps to ensure that new ideas continue to flow to theOSTP and the FCC should create an Innovation Corps and an GoVernMent teers would serve as a think tank for technologists from inside and-federal government. An FCC-operated Innovation Corps of volun outside government who would volunteer to design and develop Beyond transparency, government should leverage broadband platforms and applications for all levels of government. An OSTP- to experiment with new ideas and technologies to extend op- administered Innovation Fellows program could be structured portunities for engagement. similarly to the White House Fellows program.72 It would place leading private sector experts and innovators throughout the ReCoMMeNDaTioN 15.11: the white House office of sci- federal government for one year. ence and technology Policy (ostP) should create an open Platforms initiative that uses digital platforms to engage 15.5 ModernIZInG the and draw on the expertise of citizens and the private sector. ➤ This initiative should create open expert and peer review deMocratIc process platforms to bring outside expertise to government. ➤ This initiative should create open problem-solving plat- forms, including competitions, to bring innovative solutions More Americans engage in democratic election processes than to government. in any other civic act. By bringing the elections process into ➤ This initiative should create open grantmaking platforms the digital age, government can increase efficiency, promote to improve the grantmaking process and enable greater in- greater civic participation and extend the ability to vote to novations in grantmaking. more Americans. The current paper-based system for voter registration can Although progress has been uneven, there are examples of include multiple steps: collecting information on paper forms, innovative collaboration throughout the government. As part manually entering handwritten data onto voter lists and offer- of the development of the Open Government Initiative, OSTP ing third-party groups the opportunity to distribute, collect and solicited comments online through a public brainstorming submit handwritten registration cards. These practices result blog, a wiki and a collaborative drafting tool.69 To build on this in a system that is often inaccurate and cumbersome, with large progress, OSTP and the Office of Management and Budget numbers of registration forms inundating election offices prior (OMB) should launch and manage an initiative to develop to each election. One recent study estimates that voter registra- open platforms that increase participatory governance.70 tion problems resulted in more than two million voters being These include open peer review and open expert network unable to vote in the 2008 general election. The problems are platforms that enable subject matter experts to volunteer to even worse for members of the military serving overseas; ser- review policies under consideration and brainstorm policy vice members are more than twice as likely to face registration ideas with each other. The federal government has already problems as the general public.73 According to an Overseas Vote taken steps to empower citizen experts. In 2007, the U.S. Foundation survey, nearly a quarter (23.7%) of experienced Patent and Trademark Office launched its Peer-to-Patent overseas voters had questions or problems when registering program, a groundbreaking Internet-based program in which to vote in 2008.74 Maintaining this poorly functioning system expert volunteers assist the federal government with review- is costly in terms of dollars as well as votes. A study of voter ing patent applications. Within the first year, Peer-to-Patent registration costs in Oregon found that in 2008 voter registra- attracted more than 2,000 reviewers, and 93% of patent tion alone cost taxpayers more than four dollars per vote, with examiners surveyed said that they would welcome examining an ultimate bill of almost nine million dollars.75 3 0 6 F e d e r a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n s c o m m i s s i o n | w w w . b r o a d b a n d . g o v
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