We’ve had enough of politicians, parties, and polarization.

If we want government to work for us, we have to represent ourselves. We have to replace traditional elections with elections by lot.

Voting has created a crisis

More and more people realize that the game of electoral politics divides our nation and does not produce good, democratic government. The many flaws of traditional elections are quite familiar: empty campaign promises, manipulated voters, and vulnerability to special interests, to name a few.

While attempts at reform are admirable, the most serious problems are baked into the traditional electoral process and are almost impossible to fix. Our elections are the root of our deepening political crisis, and we need to start thinking outside the ballot box and explore better options…

Not convinced? Read my full post on the subject:

Voting has created a crisis

More and more people realize that the game of electoral politics divides our nation and does not produce good, democratic government. The many flaws of traditional elections are quite familiar: empty campaign promises, manipulated voters, and vulnerability to special interests, to name a few.

While attempts at reform are admirable, the most serious problems are baked into the traditional electoral process and are almost impossible to fix. Our elections are the root of our deepening political crisis, and we need to start thinking outside the ballot box and explore better options…

Not convinced? Read my full post on the subject:

It's time to try lotteries

Election by lot (also called random selection or sortition) is the original way to choose representatives in a democracy. Lotteries give each citizen an equal opportunity to help decide issues that affect them and their communities. Lotteries can form legislatures that are truly representative – proportionately filled with people of all ages, beliefs, and walks of life. Best of all, lotteries can do away with campaigns, parties, donors, and many other aspects of elections that make our politics so distorted and divisive.

Once elected, everyday citizens can listen to expert opinions and deliberate together to decide policy, similar to the way randomly selected juries decide our court cases. They would be free from the pressures of needing to repay political supporters or win the next election. Free to follow their conscience and decide based on the evidence and what is best for their communities.

“An interesting idea…would be to reintroduce the ancient Greek practice of selecting parliaments by lot instead of election. In other words, parliamentarians would no longer be nominated by political parties, but chosen at random for a limited term, in the way many jury systems work. This would prevent the formation of self-serving and self-perpetuating political classes disconnected from their electorates.”

Kofi Annan

Former Secretary-General of the United Nations

And electing representatives through lotteries has been proven to lead to sound decision making over the past several decades. The map below shows just a few of the countless randomly selected Citizens’ Juries and Deliberative Polls  that have reached sensible decisions on a wide range of political issues, including municipal budgets, healthcare, nuclear waste, and even changes to national constitutions. There are also many organizations advancing the use of lotteries.  Click the dots for more info:

Global Movement Placeholder
Global Movement

Randomly selected citizens also tend to find common ground on divisive issues much easier than politicians or parties. This rich civic experience tends to bring out the best in people.

But sadly, these well-informed, randomly-selected groups are only invited to make suggestions. And although their suggestions tend to make a lot of sense to a lot of people, they are often ignored by politicians for political reasons. It’s time to cut out the middlemen and start replacing politicians with diverse groups of everyday citizens. It’s time to experiment with lotteries.

So, where and how should we start?

Want more on lotteries?
Check out my post and the link and video below:

Equality By Lot (Blog)

Source for updates on the use of lotteries around the world​

Play Video

It's time to try lotteries

Election by lot (also called random selection or sortition) is the original way to choose representatives in a democracy. Lotteries give each citizen an equal opportunity to help decide issues that affect them and their communities. Lotteries can form legislatures that are truly representative – proportionately filled with people of all ages, beliefs, and walks of life. Best of all, lotteries can do away with campaigns, parties, donors, and many other aspects of elections that make our politics so distorted and divisive.

Once elected, everyday citizens can listen to expert opinions and deliberate together to decide policy, similar to the way randomly selected juries decide our court cases. They would be free from the pressures of needing to repay political supporters or win the next election. Free to follow their conscience and decide based on the evidence and what is best for their communities.

“An interesting idea…would be to reintroduce the ancient Greek practice of selecting parliaments by lot instead of election. In other words, parliamentarians would no longer be nominated by political parties, but chosen at random for a limited term, in the way many jury systems work. This would prevent the formation of self-serving and self-perpetuating political classes disconnected from their electorates.”

Kofi Annan

Former Secretary-General of the United Nations

And electing representatives through lotteries has been proven to lead to sound decision making over the past several decades. The map below shows just a few of the countless randomly selected Citizens’ Juries and Deliberative Polls  that have reached sensible decisions on a wide range of political issues, including municipal budgets, healthcare, nuclear waste, and even changes to national constitutions. There are also many organizations advancing the use of lotteries.  Click the dots for more info:

Global Movement Placeholder
Global Movement

Randomly selected citizens also tend to find common ground on divisive issues much easier than politicians or parties. This rich civic experience tends to bring out the best in people.

But sadly, these well-informed, randomly-selected groups are only invited to make suggestions. And although their suggestions tend to make a lot of sense to a lot of people, they are often ignored by politicians for political reasons. It’s time to cut out the middlemen and start replacing politicians with diverse groups of everyday citizens. It’s time to experiment with lotteries.

So, where and how should we start?

Want more on lotteries?
Check out my post and the link and video below:

Equality By Lot (Blog)

Source for updates on the use of lotteries around the world​

Play Video
Citizens Initiatives (I) and Referendum (R) by State. Graphic from dontmesswithtaxes.com

Let's start with local government

I think the best place to experiment with lotteries would be in a handful of the thousands of local governments across the country.

Over 30 states have “home rule” laws that, to varying degrees, allow cities, counties, and towns to govern themselves as they see fit. In many of these states, amendments to city and county charters can be passed through citizens initiatives, meaning we could replace traditional elections with elections by lot even if politicians opposed the change (a change that would likely cost them their jobs). A similar approach could also be taken to amend state constitutions and redesign the legislatures of many states (see map). 

Some places may be more open to this type of change, especially those experiencing political crisis and failure even at the local level. By targeting smaller populations that are attracted to the idea of doing politics without politicians, a ballot initiative campaign could succeed with relatively limited resources.

This would provide a testing ground to improve democratic designs, develop the support randomly selected citizens will need to be effective in office, and demonstrate these concepts in practice.

Citizens Initiatives (I) and Referendum (R) by State. Graphic from dontmesswithtaxes.com

In short, we should use local ballot initiatives to replace traditional elections with elections by lot, and put people at the center of politics.

Does this resonate with you?

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I’ve dedicated my life to a vision of democracy that has nothing to do with politicians or parties. It’s about people. Click here to find out more.

I’ve dedicated my life to a vision of democracy that has nothing to do with politicians or parties. It’s about people. Click here to find out more.

Contact

Shoot me an email to collaborate, lend support, schedule a speaking engagement, or just share ideas!



Contact

Shoot me an email to collaborate, lend support, schedule a speaking engagement, or just share ideas!