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State Agency Databases Project Activity Report 10/12/2014

This past week saw significant changes to the following pages at the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases.  (links are to revisions page, click on “page” tab to see regular page):

Delaware saw significant reorganization in how its databases are organized and Wyoming had a number of link updates of databases from their State Library Division.

You can always view ALL changes made in the past seven days by visiting http://tinyurl.com/statedbs.

As a reminder, all of the links and text in the State Agency Databases Project is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license. We strongly encourage the use of our links and annotations in projects of your own.

GAO Report: Voter ID laws reduce turnout more among African American and younger voters

A new report just released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) entitled “ELECTIONS: Issues Related to State Voter Identification Laws” (GAO-14-634) found that requiring voters to have special ID in order to vote makes voter turnout go down and this disproportionally effects young and minority voters. And you wonder why republicans in states like Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania are instituting restrictive voter ID laws — Since the 2010 election, new voting restrictions are slated to be in place in 22 states according to the Brennan Center for Justice report “The State of Voting in 2014.” Rachel Maddow explains (watch the whole segment including the clip of Lewis Black ACLU ad on voter suppression). As Lewis Black says, “Elected officials shouldn’t get to choose who gets to choose elected officials!”

Laws requiring voters to show identification when they cast a ballot have a greater impact on African Americans and younger voters than on other racial and age groups, according to a new analysis.

The report, issued Wednesday by the General Accounting Office, found that fewer African Americans have the types of identification — like a driver’s license or state-issued identification card — required to obtain a ballot than whites. As a consequence, turnout among African American voters fell by a larger percent than turnout among white voters in two states that implemented identification requirements between 2008 and 2012.

Black turnout dropped by 3.7 percentage points more than white turnout in Kansas, and by 1.5 percentage points more than whites in Tennessee after voter ID laws passed. Among 18 year olds, turnout dropped by 7.1 percentage points more in Kansas than it did among those aged 44 to 53 year-olds in Kansas. Turnout in Tennessee fell by 1.2 percentage points more among those aged 19 to 23 than among the older set.

via Report: Voter ID laws reduce turnout more among African American and younger voters – The Washington Post.

Samantha Bee answers a govdocs reference question

Did you ever have one of those reference questions that involves a government-collected statistic that you just know must exist, but you cannot find? We all have. Samantha Bee of the Daily show looks at GAO and CDC documents and even the National Sheriff’s Association. She interviews Nate Silver! But, she discovers, some data do not exist…

  • A Shot in the Dark. Samantha Bee attempts to uncover statistics about the excessive use of lethal force by the police, only to discover that this data is mysteriously nonexistent. Aired: 10/07/14 (7:09).

CRL to Digitize Endangered Foreign Government Publications

The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded the Center for Research Libraries funding to preserve and make available on the open web endangered government documentation from certain African and Persian Gulf region nations.

The grant of $248,500 will enable digitization of official gazettes from those nations, which have been preserved over the past sixty years by CRL and its partner institutions.

The initial focus of the CRL project, “An Open Web Repository of Civil Society Documentation,” will be ten nations cited in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index as among those being governed by the world’s most corrupt regimes. CRL will digitize and post to the web official gazettes that were published during the 1950s to the mid-1990s, and will supplement the hard copy holdings by harvesting from the web materials published more recently.

Official gazettes published by governments have long been key documents of civil society. They function as the legal newspapers of many countries, wherein the texts of new laws, decrees, regulations, international treaties, legal notices, legislative debates, and court decisions are published. The laws published in the gazettes are the versions of record—and in many jurisdictions the only published versions—of many nations’ primary law.

Despite their importance, gazettes in countries with repressive or authoritarian regimes are often not widely accessible to the public. Though some governments now publish these materials directly to the web, the countries selected for inclusion in this pilot effort present only limited content online, or where digitized historical content may exist, are at risk of loss due to unstable governments or questionable infrastructure.

The availability of CRL’s open web repository will thus promote accountability of those governments by providing a permanent “offshore” public record, immune to revision and alteration over time. Many of the materials will be freely available for the first time to the populations in the regions of origin and to scholars of those regions.

CRL will digitize available content from hard copy and microform holdings of CRL and partner institutions (potentially to include the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Harvard University, the Los Angeles County Law Library, and the Law Library Microform Consortium).

CRL will supplement the hard copy holdings by harvesting from the web materials digitized by those governments or recently published in digital form.

Further information will be forthcoming on CRL’s Topic Guide for Official Gazettes.


via infodocket

Best State and Local Government Websites for 2014

Each year, Government Technology magazine and e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government sponsor the creation of a list of the best state and local government websites. This year a panel of last year’s winners, former government officials, and executives from the Center for Digital Government selected websites that tried new things, while remaining functional. They examine 300 government websites and judged them on their innovative qualities, usefulness, and efficiency and economy.

The winners include the State of Hawaii, The District of Columbia, and Oakland County, Michigan.

See the article and the complete list at the link above.