[EM] Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Jul 16 00:32:44 PDT 2012

On 16.7.2012, at 1.17, Fred Gohlke wrote:

> They will not have met them, but each of them are part of a direct line of individuals that culminates in the people who are make the later selections.  Depending on the way the process is implemented, they can influence those who make the later choices by expressing their position and providing whatever evidence they may have, good or bad, to those who are making the later choices.  If the capability is implemented, they will also have the ability to institute a recall.  Each of them is a link in the electoral chain and have reason to trust those who make the final selections because they were part of the process of selecting them.

Yes, being able to influence through the chain of electors offers a useful communication / influence channel between the bottom level voters and their representatives. Of course that chain may also introduce some additional problems (due to the legth of the chain). We should have some practical experiments with different rules and in different societies to see how people feel about this kind of indirect representation.

> re: "If we want each candidate to be forced to answer to some key
>     questions that their fellow candidates might ask them (good
>     idea), one solution would be to simply force them to do so."
> It may not be simple.  I'm not sure you can 'force' someone to answer a question - honestly.  Words are cheap.  What someone says is much less revealing than their demeanor when they say it.  That's why face-to-face interaction is so important.
> We would also need to decide who will formulate the question(s) or what the question(s) will be.  I haven't thoroughly considered this idea, but perhaps others can help examine it.

Face-to-face is important when you have to evaluate the overall trustworthy of a person. If you want to get commitments to stable policies, then written answers are good. Written public answers can avoid some problems like different (maybe conflicting) vague unrecorded pitches and promises to different people and interest groups.

It is not easy to pick the best limited set of questions. One quite technical approach would be to arrange a separate proportional election (maybe among representatives, media and other experts) on which questions to present. Maybe one would present 100 questions in a proportional order, so that all candidates must answer properly at least to some of the most critical questions at the top of the list. It would be appropriate also to allow media, other candidates and voters to comment the answers, so that evading or misleadng answers will be revealed.

One possible simpler model would be to allow different interest groups (groups of current representatives, parties, media, assocoations) each set one or two questions (or question candidates).

One problem with questions is that people would certainly disagree with how some questions should be presented (hopefully in a neutral way) and how many questions there should be on each area. Some proportionality in setting up the questions would help here.

> You say, "I kept that approach in the described approach", but I haven't seen the approach you described.

I referred just to the approach of voters electing first some candidates (that they know well) locally, then same voters electing regionally some of the locally elected candidates, and finally same voters electing some of the regionally elected candidates as their national representatives. That approach is an interesting reference point since voters are able to nominate the candidates of national elections, and they can still vote directly also at national level.

> re: "... I think no two countries are alike."
> No, but people are pretty much the same all over the world.  We all love and hope and dream and fear pretty much the same way.  Genius and repugnance are distributed throughout the human race.  Our various cultures develop at different rates, but our Attilas and our Napoleons pop-up here and there throughout our existence.  If we can conceive a democratic electoral process, any community can use it when their local circumstances allow.

Yes, general targets may have lots of similarity, although current regional problems and practices may be quite different.


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