by / December 18, 2007

Voting Made Easy
Estonia's ruling Reform Party is preparing an amendment to let people vote by mobile telephone.

The party presented its "m-voting" proposals on Sept. 27 in order to prepare a bill along with its coalition partners. If the partners approve the initiative, the legislation will be sent to parliament.

The head of the parliamentary Constitutional Committee said the introduction of m-voting would call for substantial changes in election laws.

Last year, Estonia was the first country to elect its parliament via the Internet. About 3.5 percent of all those who voted in the March 2006 elections did so online, enhancing the nation's reputation as "E-stonia." - The Baltic Times


$100+ Laptop
The vaunted "$100 laptop" that Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers dreamed up for international schoolchildren is becoming a slightly more distant concept.

Leaders of the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child, which was spun out of MIT, acknowledged that the devices are now slated to cost $188 when mass production begins. The last price the nonprofit announced was $176; it described $100 as a long-term goal.

Spokesman George Snell blamed the increase on a variety of factors, including currency fluctuations and rising costs of such components as nickel and silicon. He said the project was committed to preventing the price from rising above $190. - CNN.com


Pioneer Party
The first exclusively Internet-based political party launched a bid for a place in the Australian Senate, even though its founder admits the party has no official positions.

Senator On-Line (SOL) party would allow voters with Internet access to vote on Senate bills and other important issues. The votes would be tallied to determine the majority voice, which would automatically become the SOL party view.

SOL founder Berge Der Sarkissian said the party would make the "often-detached political process" much more accessible, transparent and engaging. - Senatoronline.com

Top Priorities in 2008

In a survey of Government Technology readers conducted in October, the majority of respondents - 51 .8 percent - considered data and records management a top priority for the coming year, which was closely followed by information security at 51.6 percent. The other top priorities for 2008 are:

Work force retention/recruitment/training            40.1 percent

Mobile/wireless technologies                              35.8 percent

IT consolidation/shared services                33.6 percent

Interoperability/integration                                31.5 percent


Only in Moderation
Chinese consumers apparently have moderate interest in mobile instant messaging (IM). Roughly 20 percent of In-Stat survey respondents who hadn't used mobile IM said they were "extremely" or "very" interested in it. China Mobile and China Unicom introduced trial versions of their IM client software in late 2006, and launched full IM applications in mid-2007.

Minimal Manpower
These 10 states have the smallest number of full-time equivalent state employees:

1) Wyoming - 7,919

2) Delaware - 11,920

3) Montana - 13,546

4) Nebraska - 14,321

5) Nevada - 15,345

6) Georgia - 15,000

7) Utah - 16,411

8) Arkansas - 24,654

9) Mississippi - 25,730

10) Kansas - 26, 239

- Nascio.org


Public Perks
What attracts new employees to state government?

Benefits Package 89.1%

Location 65.2%

Workplace Flexibility 47.8%

Career Opportunities/Challenging Work 43.5%

Tuition Reimbursement 23.9%

Training and Certification Opportunities 19.6%

Salary 17.4%

Other 17.4%

- Nascio.org

Karen Stewartson

Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.