Journal Title

National Center for Digital Government Working Paper Series

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From first paragraph: Communication between legislator and constituents is fundamental to effective democratic representation, and devising the institutional means for citizen/legislator communication stands as one of the core and persistent problems in the practice of democracy. A legislator needs information about the preferences, ideals, norms, and beliefs of her constituents in order to do her job well. Similarly, citizens need information about the actions and decisions of their representative in order to maintain appropriate accountability. But as national problems become more complex, and as the political process grows more and more dominated by experts and organized groups, it is becoming more difficult for interested citizens to understand the very meaning of government action, much less to find an effective voice in the process.