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Google’s Sergey Brin Responds to Our Davos Question!

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Friday, January 25th, 2008

Nine days ago we submitted an entry to The Davos Question, a contest put on by YouTube and the World Economic Forum. We asked how global corporations could help strengthen democracies worldwide. This just in: Google co-founder Sergey Brin responds!

Brin’s response focuses on the importance of an engaged and educated electorate. He says YouTube “is a great platform” for direct-democracy from citizens, and he mentioned specifically the CNN/YouTube debates.

Brin said that “there is lots more opportunity for engagement to form greater communities around important issues… and discuss them at a very deep level with experts around the field and just many ordinary, interested citizens.” He did not directly address something I mentioned in our question: whether he’d consider bringing Google into the voting-machine or online voting market and produce the “Voogle.”

What follows are the thoughts of Why Tuesday? Board Member Norman Ornstein on the subject. It was Professor Ornstein’s article which was the inspiration for our Davos Question.

Frankly, we can’t count on Congress to solve the problems [with our voting machines], at least in the foreseeable future. We need a patriotic intervention by Steve Jobs and his talented team at Apple, the geniuses who created intuitive, user-friendly, reliable and elegant successes like the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone, or by Eric Schmidt and his brilliant team at Google.

Voting machine technology is not inherently intricate or technologically difficult. For a relatively small investment, Apple or Google could certainly create a voting machine that would be reasonable in price, easy to use, able to handle the long and often complicated ballots, easy to keep from hacking, and able to produce a clean paper ballot to be optically scanned, counted and preserved. If Apple or Google — or both — stepped up to the plate to give us the iVote or Voogle, they could save the credibility of American democracy.

What do you think? Thanks to Sergey for the response! For more from Davos check out YouTube News & Politics Editor Steve Grove’s vlog, Citizentube.

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