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Washington State Scores Perfect in Digital Democracy

In a study released yesterday by the Center for Digital Government and The Progress & Freedom Foundation, Washington State was at the top of the list, scoring perfectly in Digital Democracy and in Management/Administration.

Conducted by the Center for Digital Government and The Progress & Freedom Foundation, in conjunction with Government Technology magazine, the year long four-part study, sponsored by Compaq Computer Corporation, is exploring the use of digital technology by state governments in eight areas.

According to Erika Lim, senior policy advisor for Washington State's Department of Information Services, there are a number of reasons for the accolades.

"The things that make Washington's use of information technology really distinctive in Digital Democracy is that we use a number of media," says Lim.

This involves not only robust websites (including the state's portal, as well as legislative and executive branch sites), but also streaming audio, streaming video, and cable TV as part of TVW.

"If you look at other states, they have some form of coverage," says Lim. "TVW is 24-7, has lots of archives and also provides a much more expansive selection of digital democracy proceedings."

Washington received the perfect score for providing its citizens easy access to its laws, legislatures and democratic process through the Internet, as well as for its electronic government efforts in key information technology management and administration functions.

The honor in management and administration functions, says Lim, has largely to do with the state's IT infrastructure. This includes an independent Information Services Board, and Chief Information Officer appointed by the governor.

Part 3 of the Digital State Survey, released yesterday, focused on Digital Democracy and Management/Administration and scored all 50 states for their technology innovations and initiatives. The final part of the survey will judge the states use of IT in education.

Rounding out the top states in the Digital Democracy category, were Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, and Michigan.

Following Washington in the Management/Administration category, were Illinois, Michigan, Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Virginia, Kansas, West Virginia, Nebraska, Nevada, and Utah.