Citizen involvement with local government

Approximately how many hours per month do you spend working within the government process?



1 - 3 Hours

4 - 10 Hours

More than 40 Hours

Don't know / Refused

11 - 2- Hours

21 - 40 Hours

Effectively participating in the government process is central to a democracy.

According to TMT’s December 2007 community survey of Washoe County residents, aside from voting, 29.4% reported participating in the government process in the last year, while 67.8% did not.  Of those participating in the government process, 25.2% reported general community service/meetings, followed by 20.4% corresponding with officials, 20.4% lobby/campaign/donations, 8.2% committee/board member, 6.8% jury duty/legal system, 4.1% flyers/petitions/protest, and 2.7% general volunteering.  With the switch to digital broadcasting, Washoe County’s public meetings are now archived and available for citizens to watch at their leisure through “video-on-demand.”  Citizens can also “jump to” an agenda item rather than watch an entire meeting.  The new technology now allows increased access of county programming to the citizens of Washoe County.

Additional measures have been suggested (inventory of e-government transactions capable of being conducted online, number of nontraditional government office hours, number of government offices outside traditional central facilities, inventory of leadership opportunities) and although these measures indicate government accessibility, there aren’t central data sources, and the data could fluctuate greatly over time. As available, TMT will attempt to track additional measures.

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According to a recent report, 21.3% of people in Nevada engaged in civic life in 2006 (6.2% of whom attended public meetings), ranking 51st across states in the Civic Life Index. Understanding barriers to meaningful participation could increase future engagement. [Corporation for National & Community Service, Volunteering in America: 2007 State Trends and Rankings in Civic Life]

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