government forms

If you live and work in the large major cities in the U.S., you can fill out and file government forms directly through the websites. However, if you live and work in the suburbs or in rural areas, you can’t file them directly online. What can we do about that?

I keep reading articles about how now in the second decade of the 21st century, we can now do nearly everything online, which is partially true- apps now exist for almost everything that we do in our daily routines.


While we’ve been able to complete government forms for almost every single state and federal government agency for several years now, local city and county agencies are slow at catching up to 21st-century technologies.

In many counties, cities, villages, and towns throughout the U.S., while you can print government forms from websites, you still cannot fill them out or file them electronically yet.

There’s a reason for this.  There are quite a few forms that we file with our various local city government agencies.In many cities, towns, and counties, people need to file forms for requesting permits to park in public lots. You need to fill out a form each year to request annual beach passes. There are numerous forms involved in filing for permits for construction on your house or your office building, filing to get permission to construct fences, paying local property taxes and annual school board taxes, requesting absentee ballots for local elections and by-elections etc. Many town and cities require annual fees that you have to pay if you have burglar and fire alarms, permits for keeping  boats at public marinas, forms for owning certain kinds of pets or owning animals, forms for filming in certain public locations, library cards, bus and light rail passes, senior citizens’ discounts, student discounts, handicapped permits, applying for military veterans’ discounts, paying fines for minor violations, parking and traffic tickets, etc.

The Town Square For The Global Village Of Tomorrow

Local county, town, village and city governments are slowly catching up with state and Federal agencies, but if you open the websites of a number of cities, towns, and counties throughout the U.S., you’ll still find that their websites reflect the latest technologies- of the late 1990’s.

Is this terribly urgent?  No, not at all.  It’s not astoundingly inconvenient or slow to print forms, and (postal) mail them for processing, or to deliver them in person for filing during business hours.

However, countries in which government agencies are quick to adopt the newest technologies tend to have more successful economies than those in which government agencies prefer to operate with older technologies.  This issue is astoundingly easily solvable.  Furthermore, the way to prevent future recessions is to create jobs- every candidate in the 2016 campaigns mentioned this.  The process of updating the websites of towns, villages, counties, and cities throughout the U.S. would involve hiring IT consultants, and IT consultants do not work pro-bono, but this is an investment which will pay off in future years.

What can we do?

The decision to upgrade the websites of your local towns, cities, and counties is largely in the hands of your local politicians.  Talk to your local politicians, and talk to the candidates during the course of their campaigns.  Politicians and candidates have to research quite a few different issues, this one is often considered to be an issue of lower priority, which is why we still see websites that are not yet configured for online filing of quite a few forms.

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Scott Benowitz is a staff writer for Afterimage Review. He holds an MSc in Comparative Politics from The London School of Economics & Political Science and a B.A. in International Studies from Reed...

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