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deliberation day audienceWhat is Deliberation Day?

Idaho's Deliberation Day was one of seventeen such events occurring throughout the country in October of 2004. The initiative is designed to help Americans focus on their connection to the rest of the world, and is part of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions' national initiative, By the People: America in the World.

Citizen engagement with the issues of the day is the cornerstone of our democracy. And the 117 Idahoans participating spent the day learning from each other and sharing their views.

The title for the day's events comes from the book, Deliberation Day, written by Bruce Akerman and James Fishkin. A democracy scholar, Fishkin is director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, and has developed Deliberative Polling.

woman listeningThe process tracks the viewpoints of a random sample from initial contact through deliberation. Fishkin has initiated Deliberative Polling events in the United States and elsewhere that bring random and representative samples of voters together for discussion of key political issues. Participants in these events increase their understanding of the issues and often change their minds on the best course of action.

Idaho Public Television videotaped the Deliberation Day event at Boise State University. The segments aired as local inserts within a national public television show, "A Time to Choose: A By The People Election Special." (link to show) Hosted by Jim Lehrer, the program explores the different perspectives citizens bring to the international issues on the nation's agenda and includes a roundtable conversation among citizens from around the country.

panel of expertsIdaho Public Television also is producing a DIALOGUE program that analyzes the data from Deliberation Day. Results of the day will also be used by IDAHO REPORTS during the state legislative session.

Dr. James Weatherby, Chairman of the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Boise State University hosted the Deliberation Day event.

Other sponsors for Idaho's Deliberation Day are The League of Women Voters, The Idaho Press Club, and The Idaho Statesman newspaper.

Primary funding for this event was provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


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