[ It should be noted by anyone reading this document that it consists of ideas that may or may not be implemented by the Techno Democracy Project. It was intended only as a collection of brain storming notes, not as a blueprint cast in stone. Regardless of the language used to describe the ideas, they are all merely options for TDP, and others, to consider. As time as goes by, it may become apparent that some, many, or all of the ideas are not suitable for implementation. However, either way, this document can be a catalyst for further thought and discussion on the topics covered. ]
Types of Voting Systems
There are many ways to sub-divide Voting Systems (VS)
into different categories. For this document, dividing them into two
categories will be useful - (A) Occasional/Electoral and (B) Ongoing/Legislative.
(A) Occasional/Electoral VS - These VS are used, as the name
implies, only occasionally. O/E voting systems are used every few years to
elect government officials around the world. And for stock holders
to occasionally vote on corporate matters.
(B) Ongoing/Legislative VS - These VS are used on an ongoing basis.
In Parliament, Congress, and other legislatures around the world,
O/L voting systems are used on an almost daily basis to vote on whether or not
to pass proposed pieces of legislation into law.
For TDP's voting system to be effective, it will need to be
able to handle either O/E tasks and O/L tasks. Ideally, it will be able
to handle both types of voting tasks concurrently.
It seems that the O/L systems would potentially
be more complex to design, build, and support than O/E systems. Most
voting systems in existence seem to target only the
simpler O/E voting tasks.
Types of Democracies
When considering political science from a lay person perspective, there seem to be two primary
types of democracies - (A) Direct Democracies and (B) Representative
(A) In Direct Democracies, Voters directly cast their own Votes.
[ Voters --> Votes ]
(B) In Representative Democracies, Voters make their preferences known
to their respective Representatives. The Representatives then directly
cast the Votes. [ Voters --> Representatives --> Votes ]
In large Representative Democracies, where there are many issues being
voted upon, it is common practice for Representatives to have a staff
of assistants to help research & write legislation, as well as make
recommendations as to the best way to Vote on various issues. It could be
said that each Representative has Advisors to make recommendations on how
to Vote, but that the final decision on how to Vote is left up to each
Representative to determine. These could be referred to as "Advisory
(C) In Advisory Representative Democracies, Voters make their preferences
known to Advisors, through Opinion Polls, Letters, Phone Calls, Personal
Visits and Research. Advisors present their recommendations to
Representatives. Representatives directly cast the Votes. [ Voters -->
Advisors --> Representatives --> Votes ]
With current technology, it seems as if it would be possible to create a
hybrid mix of (A) Direct Democracies and (C) Advisory Representative
Democracies. This could be referred to as an "Advisory Direct
Democracy" or as simply an "Advisory Democracy".
(D) In Advisory Democracies, Voters provide key personal demographic
information and general legislative opinions to their
Advisors. The Advisors then develop a customized Recommendation on each piece
of proposed legislation (or only on pieces of legislation which relate to
their specific specialties) for each of their Voter-Customers. Then each
Voter either approves the Recommended Vote as their Actual Vote. Or, they can
choose an Actual Vote which is contrary to their Recommended Vote.
[ Voters --> Advisors --> Voters --> Votes ]
In Advisory Democracies, Voters could also specify a mechanism for
automatically transitioning Recommended Votes into Actual Votes after
a specified amount of time (or some other criteria). The Voter would still
have the ability to Over-Ride any Recommended Vote before it is transitioned
into an Actual Vote, if they so chose. This particular type of Advisory
Democracy would, in effect, be a Representative Democracy with each Voter possessing
the ability to Veto or Over-Ride their Representatives on any and all Votes.
Potentially, there are many other possible configurations and unique
features which could be added to increase the power, convenience, validity,
and utility of Advisory Democracies. But, that topic will be left for some
For TDP's voting system to be effective, it will need to be
configurable to be used for any of these four types of Democracies. Ideally,
it should be designed to handle multiple configurations within
a single VS engine, concurrently.
In both Occasional/Electoral and Ongoing/Legislative Voting, there is much
that happens before Votes are actually cast. In this Pre-Voting time period
there are numerous processes which happen, which TDP would be wise to recognize,
analyze, understand, and support in its Techno Democracy Systems (TDS).
(A) For Elections, in which one or more people are voted into a governmental
post, the pre-voting period usually involves….
For Political Candidates ….
Registering to run in a particular electoral race.
Election Regulatory Organizations verifying that Political Candidates who registered are qualified to run.
Planning & implementing a Political Campaign.
Hiring campaign staff & volunteers.
Determining policy positions and making them known.
Trying to obtain publicity.
Differentiating candidates from their opponents.
Wooing individual Voters.
Building Coalitions of Voters.
Open Forums & Town Hall Meetings.
Public appearances and speeches.
What contests each Voter can Vote on.
Finding out who's running in each contest.
Finding out what each Political Candidate's positions are.
Finding out how close each Political Candidate's positions are to that Voter's.
Determining who the Voter will Vote for.
(B) For Referenda and Initiatives, in which one or more Issues are Voted on by the General Public, the pre-voting period usually involves….
For Referenda Supporters & Opponents….
Publicizing the Issue.
Obtaining signatures to enable the Issue to be Voted on in a Referendum.
Publicizing why people should care about the issue.
Trying to convince Voters to Vote the 'correct' way.
Learning what Issues are being considered for Referenda.
Signing petitions to help important Issues get to a Referendum.
Learning what Issues qualified for Referenda.
Understanding the Pro's & Con's to each side of each Issue.
Deciding which way to Vote in each Referenda.
(C) For Legislative Voting, in which one or more Issues are Voted on directly
by Voters or by their Representatives, the pre-voting period can involve….
For Voters, Advisors and/or Representatives….
Issues come to the attention of each Voter/Advisor/Representative.
Issues are selected to be supported.
Supporters lobby to get their Issues noticed by other Voters/Advisors/Representative.
Issues of interest to many people 'bubble up' to the top of everyone's attention.
Issues of interest to only a small number of people 'bubble down'.
Issues are discussed, debated, and dialogued on. Opinions and Positions are shaped by these interactions.
Voters/Advisors/Reps determine the importance of each Issue to themselves or their Constituents.
Voters/Advisors/Reps determine their Position on each Issue.
Note : In the negotiating/bartering/etc processes, strong supporters of Issues
try to get fence-straddlers, weak-supporters, & vote-traders to Vote their way.
All deals need to be backed up with a way to verify the way deal-participants
Voted, even if the Votes are not published/open. Functionality needs to be added
to allow select individuals & groups to view/verify individual votes. [As is
noted later in this document, this is a controversial matter. Any voting system
which includes functionality to support vote-trading, would also need to include
an on/off switch for it. This way, jurisdictions which allow vote-trading can use it
and jurisdictions which don't allow it can disable (or un-install) that functionality.]
Advisors make their Recommendations.
Voters/Representatives decide what their Vote will be.