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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

What to Expect When You’re Electing

We are only one week away from Election Day, and with record turnout expected, there are no doubt still a number of people that have no idea where their polling place is or exactly what will be on their ballot.

Campaigns and PACs pay large sums of money to vendors that sell information on district boundaries, and even the US House of Representatives uses a commercial vendor to provide the data that powers their “Who is my Representative?” service. There is no reason why this information should be this difficult to obtain.

Google recently announced a project to help voters find their polling locations that makes use of data that a group called the Voting Information Project has asked all states to provide.

The Voting Information Project encourages Boards of Elections to standardize and share their voting information including what is on the ballot, where the polling locations are, and the boundaries for all the various jurisdictions. So far only a handful of states (Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Ohio) as well as Los Angeles County have published the requested information.

Voting information is some of the most important information to help the average citizen participate in our democracy, and the Voting Information Project is doing important work to ensure that this information is as open and widespread as possible. The states already participating should be applauded and the remaining states should be sure that by the time the next election season rolls around, they too are participating fully in the Voting Information Project.

For more information on the efforts of the Voting Information Project: visit their website.

New Poll: We want your podcast feedback!

As episode 3 of the FGI podcast starts to go into production, we’ve opened a new poll asking your opinion about the two podcasts we’ve completed so far. The first episode was very scripted and the second episode more free form. Did you like either, both, neither? Let us know.

And if you’re in a commenting mood, please leave a comment here or on the poll page letting us know how we can improve the podcast.

If you haven’t heard our podcast yet, please go to our podcast page and check them out.

Who do you think we are?

No this isn’t a new FGI poll 🙂 In today’s NY Times, there’s an op-ed article entitled, “Op-Art: Who Do You Think We Are?” by Ben Schott (author of “Schott’s Original Miscellany” and “Schott’s Almanac,” a yearbook of American society, both must-have books for any serious trivia junky!). The article talks about the General Social Survey, which has been exploring the American psyche for 34 years. After the US Census, the GSS is the most frequently analyzed data source in the social sciences. The GSS is administered by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

Don’t forget to check out the multimedia component of the article to see some of the questions that have been asked over the years (link opens a new browser window).