Self-Representation Through Technology

Update 2011.07.15
I’ve reposted this from my archive. With all the debt level issues, it seems especially relevant I think.

Introduction

The system of representative government in the United States has run into a plateau. The politicians that are elected to represent their state or even district have too large a group of citizens to represent. Our population has simply grown too large for this to be an effective method of representation. If a citizen cannot meet his personal representative at least once a year, and talk to them in person to learn about their thoughts on topics, then how can they truly be represented? The result is that the majority of citizens feel like they are out of touch with their government, that our politicians are entirely different creatures than us, and they pretty much do as they please.

There are various ways to fix this. One is to massively increase the number of representatives, though it’s highly possible it will just add to the confusion and slow the process down even more. Another alternative is to fundamentally change the way in which citizens are represented. Utilizing the internets, it is possible to use technology to implement this change.

Simply defined, Self-Representation through Technology (SRT) is a system which allows citizens to either personally vote on every proposed law, bill or act (LBA) that would effect them, and to propose new LBA’s.

How Voting Works

Every citizen has an alphanumeric identification, and attached to this would be a password. The government will have a site (http://vote.gov for example) that a citizen logs onto. When that is done, the citizen is presented with a list of all newly proposed LBA’s that pertain to them. They can read the lettering of what is being proposed, then vote ‘aye’, ‘nay’, or ‘edit’. The first two being self-explanatory, a vote of ‘edit’ means you believe what is proposed to have merit, but changes need to be made. You enter your reasoning in the textbox at the same time you vote ‘edit’. If a certain percentage of voters vote for ‘edit’ then it is open for a re-draft, with the original proposer acting as moderator.

A citizen can also look in a list of draft LBA’s that need endorsement before they can come up for a vote. A draft has to have a certain number of citizen endorsements before it can become a proposal to be voted on. The amount of endorsements will depend on its Level of Law. Citizens are not obligated to ever endorse any draft if they don’t wish do. It is up to the drafters to lobby citizens and convince them their draft deserves endorsement.

Levels of Law

What a citizen can vote on depends on if they will be effected by it, financially or physically. So, if the citizen is going to end up paying an increased tax because of it, or if it will measurably impact their district, then they have a vote. The breakdown can be interpreted as a district level, multidictrict level, state level and federal level.

Drafting a LBA

Any citizen can draft a LBA. When it is done, it is their responsibility to receive the required amounts of endorsements to allow the draft LBA to be voted on. Often, LBA drafters will raise public knowledge first, with a date in the future mentioned as when the draft LBA will be up for endorsement. Votes are counted on the first and third Friday of every month, with all votes for draft LBA’s and proposed LBA’s required to occur in that that two week period. Any draft LBA that doesn’t receive its required number of endorsements in that time will be erased. The same goes for a proposed LBA that didn’t receive the necessary percentage of votes.

Representatives

There are citizens who do not have the time to research every proposed LBA. Because of this, representatives will still exist, but in an altered form. A citizen can assign their vote to another citizens ID, broken down into the various Levels of Law. For example, a citizen could have one person be their representative for all federal level items, a different one for state level, and so on. A representative can be anyone, and they can request a fee for their services. So, a husband could have his wife be his representative, and whatever she voted out counted for two votes. A man could represent hundreds in his district. A citizen could find someone who has their same philosophies, and assign them their votes for federal level proposals. Citizens are able to retract their voting power from their representative at any time.

Representatives can also draft LBA’s. A drafted LBA by a representative already has the endorsements of all citizens who assigned their vote to them.

Conclusions

My reasons for coming up with a new method are numerous. I recommend reading at least the first six paragraphs of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”. This idea has been on my mind for almost two months, and I thought I have it refined enough to share. There are many things that need to be worked out, such as the fact that there are many instances where a public symbol of leadership is needed and ambassadors, etc. I wanted to put this out to get everyone thinking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *