Civic Participation: One Possible Upside of the Shutdowns?

An author on Route Fifty argues that wider use of remote access tools may mark an expansion in civic and public participation in governance.

Megan Asikainen from CivicClerk (a component of CivicPlus, the company that developed and manages MACo’s website), talks through the remote access mini-revolution born from the health pandemic…and finds a silver lining in making policy processes even more open to the public, through wider acceptance of online access tools.

From the Route Fifty commentary:

The broad adoption of virtual public meetings may have been unexpected and rushed by a pandemic that blindsided the nation, but local governments have learned to embrace it and even thrive in the virtual meeting environment. And they are seeing huge gains in civic participation as a result.

Before the pandemic, even the best-intentioned citizens who wanted to participate in community decisions were often inhibited from doing so because of lack of time. Virtual meetings have shown that through technology we can eliminate time and distance barriers that prevent civic engagement.

Visit the Route-Fifty website for news and information about “Connecting state and local government leaders.”



Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties