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Sometime in the near future, when computers are as common as TV sets (meaning they're even in the houses of the poor), we should implement WEEKLY elections. Everyone gets to vote with his own home computer via a web site. (To further eliminate bias against the impoverished, there could be public computers
available at polling places, which would now be permanent buildings erected specifically for our weekly elections.)
Every week, a new slate of issues to be voted upon--universal initiative, referendum, and reform. The godless politicos would no longer be REPRESENTING us, they would be reduced to simply drafting the final wording of the issues to be voted upon in the coming week, based on public opinion. This would be true democracy--not a republic, not representative democracy, but the modern, computer-driven equivalent of the town hall meeting. Less bureaucracy, since the wishes of the majority would be known with less than a week's wait.
Problems: secure voting (every one would have to have a unique password, known only to themselves, and only usable once a week); election fraud (hackers find a way to get into the system and vote multiple times, or even eliminate certain issues from the ballot altogether--but then, the present system is hardly bug-free itself *cough*Florida*cough*)
The politicians, of course, knowing that this would restrict their POWER, would never allow it, but the idea has merit. What do you think?
All the talk on this topic anyone could poossibly ever want. [egnor, May 14 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]
||Ah, but if you had WEEKLY elections, you'd only have to endure the rhetoric for a week at the most. Then all the placards would come down, to be replaced by a new set. And you wouldn't be voting for PEOPLE, you'd be voting on the actual issues, which is kind of hard to put on a billboard (other than "YES on Prop 15").
||The notion of a universal direct democracy via communications technology is old and discussed in much more depth elsewhere. We don't need to discuss it here; I don't expect any of us will say anything new. See link.
||Ooo! can we have the people take tests on the subject to figure out the wheight of their vote?