Direct Democracy

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Wed Jul 29 00:03:57 PDT 1998

> Current legislative bodies are a very appoximate representation of the total
> voters in very many counties (due to various criminal minority rule
> gerrymanders (such as in the U.S, U.K. and Canada), minimum percentage
> requirements in p.r elections (as in Germany and Russia), plurality elections,
> etc..
> Some folks are in favor of Direct Demoracy (DD).

I believe DD would be better. Also, I believe that it has a
better chance in the U.S. than does PR. Voters are suspicious
& resentful of their representatives. _No_ representation, at
least on especially important or controversial issues, would
be better than representation in any form. People have nothing
good to say about politicians. Good. Leave them out of the
important or controversial decisions. Jim Hightower pointed
out that if you want to clear the water, you first have to get
the hogs out of the creek.

> Thus, should any law proposed by a minimum of around 40 percent of a
> legislative body (proposing new laws, amending current laws or repealing
> current laws) have a vote of ALL of the voters ?

Sure, but, additionally, initiatives--to enact a law, or repeal
one, or to amend the constitution, should be available.

> The basic question is what percentage of potential voters have the brains or
> time to examine (i.e pay attention to) public issues (even those that directly
> affect their lives, liberty and property) ???

Well, what percentage of them do, under the current system?
Maybe you're saying that it's easier for a voter to vote for 
a candidate than to vote on all the issues, or even on all the
important or controversial issues. But most people do have a
strong opinion on controversial issues.

Besides, it wouldn't be necessary to vote on more issues thana
one understands or is interested in.

How about DD with proxies?

Obviously, when you vote, it's necessary to record the fact
that you've voted, so that you can't vote twice. It would be
easy for voters to have anonymous voter IDs. No one but you
need know your anonymous voter ID number.

You could indicate that, on any issue that you don't vote on,
you want to register a vote that is the same as that of a certain
proxy whom you have designated. You could designate, for instance,
the voter ID number of your spouse, or your brother. Or you
could designate the name of some publicly-outspoken person, such
as a political leader, a celebrity of any kind, or maybe
some well-known politician or member of a political party.

You could even designate a _list_ of proxies. If your 1st proxy
hasn't voted on that issue, then the vote of your 2nd proxy would
be used...etc.

There could be a Parliament that would serve as a sort of
"Executive Committee" to conduct day-to-day business that
the voters indicate that they don't want to bother with, or
to deal with time-important things that there isn't time to
hold a DD election on.

Current tele-poll technology could be used, so that people could
vote by punching keys on their telephone (starting with their
anonymous voter ID number).

But computer terminals for the purpose could also be available
in libraries or post-offices. I prefer the home phones.

The election computer could constantly, 24 hours per day, 
be receiving proposals for initiatives, qualifying votes for
propals, and y/n votes for qualifiled initiatives. And of
course there's no reason why initiatives would have to be y/n.
People could propose multi-alternative initiatives, and voting
could by by any of the good single-winner methods.  At least
by Approval, but preferably by one of the 1st rate rank-balloting
count from EM.

Of course recalls could also be among the proposals.

Another way that multi-alternative initiative votes could happen
would be when there are several mutually-contradictory initiatives.
In that event, voting would be among those initiatives, with
the status-quo included in the election as one of the alternatives.


It's feasible, even with current technology. Excellent voting
systems are available. I believe that DD is much more winnable
in the U.S. than is PR.


Mike Ossipoff

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