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Engaging citizens in the deliberative process is essential to overcoming participatory apathy, cynicism toward government, and the apparent disconnect between citizens and decision-makers. AmericaSpeaks developed an electronic town meeting (ETM) designed to reconnect citizens and government. Ideally, the ETM affords citizens a means by which they can impact the policy-making discourse. This paper examines the extent to which AmericaSpeaks’ ETM enhances the prospect for deliberative democracy. Thirty minute structured interviews were conducted with twenty participants from Citizen Summit III, an ETM held in the District of Columbia in November 2003. The interview data suggest that AmericaSpeaks’ ETM, to some measure, enhances the prospect for deliberative democracy insofar as it cultivates a broadly inclusive and autonomous dialogue.


This is the authors' manuscript of a work originally published in The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal.



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