Wisconsin Recall Webcam Attracts Thousands Of Viewers

January 23, 2012

Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board’s new live-streaming webcast is attracting tens of thousands of viewers – 29,308 last Thursday.Scott Walker has been in hot water ever since he was elected Governor of Wisconsin in 2010. After he proposed removing nearly all public employee collective bargaining rights, unions mobilized the community in protest — and now, a growing effort to recall Gov. Walker and 5 other Republicans is underway.

The count of signatures submitted is over 1 million. But now all of those signatures (3 tons worth) need verification so that no false or duplicate signatures are counted. And they’re working 15 hours a day to scan and verify.

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The bureaucratic body that handles this — the Government Accountability Board (GAB) is making sure they are accountable. Enter one of the dullest webcast series yet. (Yes, perhaps more boring than CSPAN.)

Open Government  Live Stream Attracts Thousands — Even If It’s Boring

When you think of technology, open government and Government 2.0, chances are that Wisconsin isn’t the first state that comes to mind. And yet, its Government Accountability Board’s new live-streaming webcast is attracting tens of thousands of viewers — 29,308 last Thursday.

This government webcast — which is provided free of charge to taxpayers by a Madison company – is simply a webcam with a bird's eye view focused on a secret location where GAB workers are counting and verifying petitions to recall Gov. Walker and five other Republicans. In addition to the “enthralling” action of paper pushers, the agency has its own Twitter account (@RecallCam) and a growing number of fans. These “fans” have even given names to the government workers like "Sideburns," ''White Glasses" and "Flirty von Flirtenheimer” and placed bets on where the secret location is located.

Is the surge of interest a big leap forward for the open government and Government 2.0 movement? The webcam is a first for GAB, and although utterly boring, it’s attracting a lot of attention.

Even while GAB’s spokesman admits the webcast is dull, the work showcased in the stream is serious business that will likely lead to lawsuits and potentially the recalls of several elected officials.

Will more local and state governments look to Wisconsin as a model of open government? Only time will tell…


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