Your thoughts on a pyramidal open ballot?

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Machjo
Your thoughts on a pyramidal open ballot?

I was wondering what people would think of a ballot that grants even more freedom that traditional closed ballots?

 

An example of such a system might be the following:

 

At the local level, all eligible voters are to fill in let's say nine names of ay other eligible voter in the same local community to form the local government every year. The names are all added up, and the nine names that appear most frequenty form the nine members of the local government. With modern technology, the ballot could be an electronic one, thus letting a computer do all the adding up.Sinse all eligible voters would also be candidates (voter-candidates, essentially), there would e no need for an election campaign or politicking. People would be voted in in a similar manner as to jurors for juror duty. There's no guarantee that the people voted in want the position, but ae simply the ones whom the community believe to be most qualified for the job. Certainly they could legally turn down the position for special reasons, but essentially must recognize that the community has chosen them, and so turning down the positionwould be ke turning down the community.

 

At the national level, the local governments could vote for the national government in the same way.

 I believe that one advantage of such a system is that it allows qualified candidates who might simply be turned off by politics to be chosen even if they didn't run (which itself can be an indication of power-hunger for those who do run). That should elevate the quality of candidates. It could also break the party system. And it could promote more decentralization of power. This would essentially through FPTP, STV, MMP, and other right back into the dark ages. What would be your thoughts on such a system?

Machjo

Double post by error

Dogbert

Whatever you're smoking, I want some! Laughing

 

Jacob Richter

Demarchy: Why not just have every public office simply selected by electronic lot, like in Ancient Athens?  That way, people will have more time to decide on issues as put forth by referendum or as put forth in people's assemblies.

It's Me D

Machjo wrote:
What would be your thoughts on such a system?

It sounds like a "dictatorship" to me... Cuba and Venezuela are "dictatorships" after all, and thats who this system reminds me of... why do you hate "democracy" Machjo?

Needless to say I think its a good idea Wink

Machjo

Dogbert wrote:

Whatever you're smoking, I want some! Laughing

 

Thought.Laughing

Machjo

Jacob Richter wrote:
Demarchy: Why not just have every public office simply selected by electronic lot, like in Ancient Athens?  That way, people will have more time to decide on issues as put forth by referendum or as put forth in people's assemblies.

 

Interesting. But with people's busy schedules, would they be able to find the time to vote on every single issue?

Machjo

It's Me D wrote:

Machjo wrote:
What would be your thoughts on such a system?

It sounds like a "dictatorship" to me... Cuba and Venezuela are "dictatorships" after all, and thats who this system reminds me of... why do you hate "democracy" Machjo?

Needless to say I think its a good idea Wink

Hmmm... I'm not sure if I should read this as straightfaced or sarcastic, so I won't comment until further informed.

It's Me D

Machjo wrote:
Hmmm... I'm not sure if I should read this as straightfaced or sarcastic, so I won't comment until further informed.

Sorry, its the internet Wink

Here, let me help: 

Quote:
It sounds like a "dictatorship" to me... Cuba and Venezuela are "dictatorships" after all, and thats who this system reminds me of... why do you hate "democracy" Machjo?

Sarcastic.

Quote:
Needless to say I think its a good idea Wink

Straightfaced.

Machjo

An alternative idea I'd considered was to not change the system quite as radically as I'd proposed in the OP, but simply to change the voting system itself only.

 

We could keep the Parliament, MP's, and electoral districts with each MP being elected to represent his riding, just like in the current system. But it would be a blank ballot with each eligible votre in that district qualifying as a voter-candidate. The government could assign each eligible voter in Canada a voter number and publish it online. Before the election, if you have someone in your riding in mind, you just go to the voter-candidate page for your riding, type in the name of the person you intend to vote for, and look up his voter number.

 

Come election day, you're given a blank ballot, you write the name and voter number of the person, and those names are then added up. The one that appears most frequently becomes the MP for your riding.

This would give voters a much wider range of candidates to choose from. To make the process even faster, it might even be possible to computerize the whole process.

 

Yout thoughts on this? It would certainly give a much wider choice of candidates than FPTP, STB, MMP, etc.

Machjo

It's Me D wrote:

Machjo wrote:
Hmmm... I'm not sure if I should read this as straightfaced or sarcastic, so I won't comment until further informed.

Sorry, its the internet Wink

Here, let me help: 

Quote:
It sounds like a "dictatorship" to me... Cuba and Venezuela are "dictatorships" after all, and thats who this system reminds me of... why do you hate "democracy" Machjo?

Sarcastic.

Quote:
Needless to say I think its a good idea Wink

Straightfaced.

 

Thanks for the clarification. I wonder if a voter-candidate blank ballot system could sell as an idea in Canada. What do you think? The main advantage I see with this is that some persons who might be highly qualified are just not power hungry enough to run in an election campaign. Such a system would give those of us who have spotted such persons the opportunity to vote for them. This would likely lead to fewer powertrippers in power. It would also make it much more difficult to win an election. After all, a candidate would no longer be competing against a handful of people, but against a whole community.

 

My guess is a lot of community leaders would be voted in. Business leaders, union leaders, ethnic community leaders, religious leaders, etc. But we'd always be dealing with people with leadership experience and proven sacrifice of time. People we trust, and a much wider range of experience than through political parties.

 

Another point is that it pust minorities on a more equal footing with majorities. For example, let's say we have a community with 80,000 anglophones and 20,000 francophones. Sure there would be more anglophone voters, but there would also be proportionately more anglophone candidates to split the vote. The same would apply if you had 90,000 whites and 10,000 First Nations, or 95,000 Christians and 5,000 Muslisms. This would make the vote much more unpredictable, making the determining factor whether that person is capable of attracting enough votes on the basis of his character alone.

 To have community leaders we genuinely trust and respect in positions of power would also help promote cohesion in society, and since they'd be voted in based on the content of their character rather than ideology, it would help break the barriers of ideological prejudice and we'd see much more pragmatism.

Machjo

Do you think a blank-ballot system could be sold?

It's Me D

I don't believe your suggestion would work if the current scale is maintained, people cannot possibly know everyone in an area the size of a federal (or even provincial) riding; this opens the door for advertising, parties, media spin, etc and thereby removes the benefit of your initial suggestion. Also for technical reasons I do not trust the federal or provincial governments to "assign each eligible voter in Canada a voter number"; this number could also seemingly be used to track votes, which isn't a good thing. Finally the way I'd recommend implementing your suggestion wouldn't require computers at all, which is good, since that also creates a number of cracks in an otherwise good propossal.

ETA: Yes conceptually I think so, but not if superimposed over the current system and structure.

Machjo

Also would you prefer a pyramidal system or the second system describe that more like the current one?

 

Some things I'd like about the pyramidal system:

 

1. Less expensive.

2. Less regionalist (all candidates are elected from throughout the contry and so represent the whole country. There would be no ridings).

3. More respnsive to local needs. Since the higher levels of government would be elected by the lower levels of government, they would naturlaly be more responsive to their needs and this would lead to more decentralization of services except where it's clearly more efficient at the higher levels.

 

Under the second system where we vote for all levellv of government directly:

1. It's more expensive.

2. More regionalist (just like now, many MP's are there not to represent the country's interests, but their constituents' interests. So they have a tendency to adopt NIMBYism as the best way to win votes for the next election).

3. More confrontation between levels of government. Because they're each directly elected by the people, they feel that they are the true representatives of the people, and so spend more time fighting instead of colaborating.

 

These are just my thoughts on this of course.

It's Me D

I think I already answered much of your last post; I obviously prefer the first system. However, reading your elaboration, I don't understand why you've drawn the following conclusion:

Machjo wrote:
2. Less regionalist (all candidates are elected from throughout the contry and so represent the whole country. There would be no ridings).

Machjo

I don't believe your suggestion would work if the current scale is maintained, people cannot possibly know everyone in an area the size of a federal (or even provincial) riding;

 I don't think it would be necessary for us to know everyone in our riding. We would each simply vote for someone we know. It might be the leader of your local labour union, of your religious community (some religious communities, such as the Quakers, could make a positive contribution to demilitarization), or ethnic or other community. You could vote for your mother if you want.

 

this opens the door for advertising, parties, media spin, etc and thereby removes the benefit of your initial suggestion.

 The media might be able to influence some voters, but I'd think most voters would quickly exploit the advantage inherent in being able to vote for whomever the character of which they genuinely trust.

Also for technical reasons I do not trust the federal or provincial governments to "assign each eligible voter in Canada a voter number"; this number could also seemingly be used to track votes, which isn't a good thing. Finally the way I'd recommend implementing your suggestion wouldn't require computers at all, which is good, since that also creates a number of cracks in an otherwise good propossal.

ETA: Yes conceptually I think so, but not if superimposed over the current system and structure.

 

Thanks for any proposals. Of course the idea would need some refining, but as an initial idea I think it could be a good start. I'd still be curious as to whether a pyramidal system would be better whereby we vote only for our local representatives, and they in turn vote for provincial up the line, or where we vote for all levels. Your thoughts on this?

Machjo

It's Me D wrote:

I think I already answered much of your last post; I obviously prefer the first system. However, reading your elaboration, I don't understand why you've drawn the following conclusion:

Machjo wrote:
2. Less regionalist (all candidates are elected from throughout the contry and so represent the whole country. There would be no ridings).

 

Well, if we vote along a pyramidal system, the representatives of local governments would vote altogher through secret blank ballot for any eligible citizen in the country. They'd write let's say nine names down. All names are added up separately, and the nine persons from across Canada who are chosen woudl form the federal government, as small assembly made up of nine or so intividuals not elected by riding but from the entire population. In theory at least, they could all come from the same town. Under such a system, they would not be representing any riding. They'd all be representing Canada.

 

It's Me D

If you can't know everyone in your riding, even if the pitfalls I mentioned were somehow overcome, the result would be very low democratic legitimacy where those elected would represent a but a tiny fraction of votes cast. As for the media, watching it in action today I think you're underestimating its effect.

I think the idea of communities (certainly no bigger than municipal ridings) choosing their local representation without requiring a system of nominations is a good idea. I also think that vesting the maximum authority at this level is a good idea. It stands then that local representatives should engage in decision-making which requires the input of several communities, as opposed to having a seperately elected tier of government above them.

It's Me D

As to your latest post I totally disagree. In fact what you're propossing there would lead to far less equitable representation across the country then we currently have.

In the interest of disclosure, although you may have already guessed it from my comments in your official languages thread, I do not support the idea of a federal level of government per se.

Machjo

If you can't know everyone in your riding, even if the pitfalls I mentioned were somehow overcome, the result would be very low democratic legitimacy where those elected would represent a but a tiny fraction of votes cast.

As for legitimacey, it's essentially just a FPTP system but on a much larger scale. This being the case, even if the candidate gets into power with no more than nine votes out of 300,000, it would still not change the fact that he would have proven himself capable of singlehandedly getting more votes than any other person. This is still legitimacy in a way. 

 As for the media, watching it in action today I think you're underestimating its effect.

 

Possibly.I'm more of a reader than a watchder or listener, so I might not be as sensitive to other media. I'll accept your argument there. This reminds, me. a possible solution could be to prohibit politicking. If you engage in politicking, you're immediately disqualified not only from taking office, but from voting for that year. After all, the idea behind such a system is that we would all be voter-candidates. You cannot be one without the other. So if you're disqualified from holding office for that year, then you're also disqualified from voting. besides, if we can't trust you as a leader, how can we trust you as a voter.

 

I think the idea of communities (certainly no bigger than municipal ridings) choosing their local representation without requiring a system of nominations is a good idea. I also think that vesting the maximum authority at this level is a good idea.

 This reminds me. At the local level, I think it would wise to require the community to hold monthly meetings, whereby the community can consult with the local government, and the local government can update the community on any new laws that are passed and other issues.

 But under such a system, we'd still need to ingrain a repsect for authority none-the-less. People get to vote every year, and consult every month. But still, these meetings would have to be courteous.

 It stands then that local representatives should engage in decision-making which requires the input of several communities, as opposed to having a seperately elected tier of government above them.

I'm not sure I understand this point correctly. How would we solve disputes between cities for example, or what about laws that affect larger areas? It would seem to me that a higher level of government would be required.

 

 

It's Me D

Machjo wrote:
As for legitimacey, it's essentially just a FPTP system but on a much larger scale. This being the case, even if the candidate gets into power with no more than nine votes out of 300,000, it would still not change the fact that he would have proven himself capable of singlehandedly getting more votes than any other person. This is still legitimacy in a way.

Not in any way I can respect; not in any way that could be considered democratic. I think you're in danger of ruining your whole concept with this, not to mention any possibility of convincing anyone that its worth adopting.

Machjo wrote:
I'm more of a reader than a watchder or listener, so I might not be as sensitive to other media.

I meant watching the watchers/listeners/readers, not the media itself.

Machjo wrote:
This reminds, me. a possible solution could be to prohibit politicking. If you engage in politicking, you're immediately disqualified not only from taking office, but from voting for that year. After all, the idea behind such a system is that we would all be voter-candidates.

In practice this could only prohibit people from engaging with their system of government, which is always a bad thing. The solution to "politicking" as you put it is to conduct governance at the community level (organically defined communities).

Machjo wrote:
At the local level, I think it would wise to require the community to hold monthly meetings, whereby the community can consult with the local government, and the local government can update the community on any new laws that are passed and other issues.

Although there are many flaws in practice this is essentially the current structure of municipal government in Canada today.

Machjo wrote:
How would we solve disputes between cities for example, or what about laws that affect larger areas? It would seem to me that a higher level of government would be required.

To properly respond to this I'd need to have some specific examples where you'd see a problem.

Machjo

Machjo wrote:
As for legitimacey, it's essentially just a FPTP system but on a much larger scale. This being the case, even if the candidate gets into power with no more than nine votes out of 300,000, it would still not change the fact that he would have proven himself capable of singlehandedly getting more votes than any other person. This is still legitimacy in a way.

Not in any way I can respect; not in any way that could be considered democratic. I think you're in danger of ruining your whole concept with this, not to mention any possibility of convincing anyone that its worth adopting.

So what would be your advice on how to ensure an equal range of choices incandidate options? Again, these ideas of mine are quite preliminary and you might have some better ideas.

 

Machjo wrote:
I'm more of a reader than a watchder or listener, so I might not be as sensitive to other media.

I meant watching the watchers/listeners/readers, not the media itself.

In what way? 

Machjo wrote:
This reminds, me. a possible solution could be to prohibit politicking. If you engage in politicking, you're immediately disqualified not only from taking office, but from voting for that year. After all, the idea behind such a system is that we would all be voter-candidates.

In practice this could only prohibit people from engaging with their system of government, which is always a bad thing. The solution to "politicking" as you put it is to conduct governance at the community level (organically defined communities).

Perhaps I should have clarified myself. I meant people trying to convince others to vote for them. I think this would force people to vote quite simply for whom they know already to be of good character and competent, rather than being influenced by PR.

Machjo wrote:
How would we solve disputes between cities for example, or what about laws that affect larger areas? It would seem to me that a higher level of government would be required.

To properly respond to this I'd need to have some specific examples where you'd see a problem.

For example, as for curency, I can't imagine every city having its own. And in the world of today, it would probably even be wise to have a common world currency. But then how to we decide how much money to print, etc. We'd all have to agree on something there. We can't just have every city printing off monety whenever it feels like it.

It's Me D

The problem with your suggestion that only 9 of 300,000 votes would count is easily solved, as I suggested already, by reducing the represented area to one where all voters can personal know each other. To me that seems like such an obvious requirement for this idea to work. You could examine how Venezuela has decentralized power to the community level for more advice on how to pull this off; its not dissimilar to what you're suggesting. I'd like to offer you a link here but as I'm about to cut our discussion off for the night I'm afraid I can't right now, but lots of other Babblers could.

I understood what you meant about politicking but you if you think about it you cannot restrict people's ability to garner popular support, nor would you want to, as it is the backbone of the system you're propossing. You simply need to reduce the scale so that advertising, parties, media spin, etc are neither needed nor really helpful in doing so. These things came about as a result of political systems where voters do not personally know the candidates (and in your propossed system knowing the candidates inherently means knowing all the other voters).

Regarding the currency example what you are suggesting about different cities having their own currencies and needing to regulate their value is in fact precisely how national currencies are currently regulated, without recourse to a world government. Cities are no more or less capable of regulating such, and would certainly be able to cooperate on sharing a currency if it is in the interest of everyone involved. It might be that cities which comprise a "nation" prefer to utilize a single currency, nothing would stop them from jointly incorporating a mint such as the "national" mints currently operating. Monetary policy would be arrived at jointly through cooperation. In this case at least I do not see the need for a federal governmen.

Machjo

The problem with your suggestion that only 9 of 300,000 votes would count is easily solved, as I suggested already, by reducing the represented area to one where all voters can personal know each other.

That I can agee with. Yet even if we broke it down to 20,000 voters, if many decide to vote for their mother, brother, neighbour, etc., you cold still end up with 8 votes making one the winner because all the others got one vote, or 3 votes, etc.

By its very nature, an open ballot is an FPTP system taken to an extreme, no matter how sall the community is.

 

Now realistically speaking, even in a town of 300,000 people, I'm sure most voters would not decide to just vote for their mothers, though some might. I believe that most would in fact choose to vote for someone they respect in their community. They might not know the person personally, but they still know the person. So this is why I believe most votes would go to persons in leadership positions of some sort, or people of respect like teachers, or possibly people of reverence like priests... oops, this doesn't help the cause, sorry. OK, but hey, democracy is democracy. But you get my point, I'm sure most votes would go to people who are somewhat well known. But I was just pointing out that as unlikely as it is, it would still be within the realm of possibility, eve with a community of only 10,000 for the vote to be very dispersed if, for example there is no clear community leader or if there are many community leaders, whereby the vote could be so dispersed that someone wins with no more than a handful of votes. As ulkely a scenario as it is, we still have to bear it's being in the realm of possibility though. Making the community smaller would still not solve that problem.

Jacob Richter

Machjo wrote:

Jacob Richter wrote:
Demarchy: Why not just have every public office simply selected by electronic lot, like in Ancient Athens?  That way, people will have more time to decide on issues as put forth by referendum or as put forth in people's assemblies.

Interesting. But with people's busy schedules, would they be able to find the time to vote on every single issue?

Not every issue has to be put forth by referendum, only the major ones.  At least demarchy minimizes corruption resulting from the "professional politician."