Public: Government
Issues based ballot paper   (+2, -7)  [vote for, against]
No names, just issues

Following nationwide consultation about the issues that really matter to the people, a short-list of twenty top issues is drawn up. Every candidate must cover those twenty points in his or her manifesto and indicate clearly the position held.

For example:
- Reducing climate change - support
- Removing the monarchy - support
- Reducing taxes on the rich - oppose
- Nationalising dentistry - support
.... etc ...

Ballot papers will no longer have names or parties on them, but instead will have the same list of twenty issues. The voter is to tick the 'support' and 'oppose' box next to each issue, according to his or her personal views.

In the proportional representation method: - All support and oppose tallies are added up across the country and candidates selected to get a mix which matches the will of the country as closely as is possible. So for example, two candidates could differ only in their view on climate change; the decision between the two would be based on which allows the climate change support ratio of the people to be more accurately represented in the house.

In the constituency based method: - The candidate who most closely matches the mean wish of the voters in that constituency gets the seat, and his name is revealed.

Advantages: - Makes voting for a politician or party much harder - Makes politicians actually commit to a decision on key issues instead of trying to sit on the fence when things are divisive - Closely focuses the politician on understanding what the people want, rather than trying to sell his own ideas to the people
-- vincevincevince, May 15 2009

Wahl-o-mat (Vote-o-matic)
~30 questions to determine which party fits you best. [loonquawl, May 15 2009]
30 UK Questions to help you pick a party for Europe. [Aristotle, May 16 2009]

So I put reducing climate change: support because my people have told me that will get the most votes. Once elected I argue that we are on the verge of the next ice age and the only thing that can save us from that particular change is driving bigger SUV's.

This idea is even worse then what we have now.
-- zeno, May 15 2009

There is a software for the current European-Parliament elections, that lets you input your view on 38 issues, then compares your view to the views of the parties. It is rather interesting to see how little one differs from parties one never even dreamed of voting. The crux: The program asks questions like: 'Would you ban all nuclear power in the EU? (Yes, no, neutral)' - The answers of the parties are 'yes no neutral', too, but they also get the chance to explain their decision, and it turns out that the explanation for their decision is often completely different than the one i had... as (in this example) nuclear power is not simply switchable, the actual political process will be riddled with compromises, and the outcome of those relies heavily on the way the parties argued for their position - so the party i actually should vote for might be a party that envisions another outcome, but conforms with me on the way to get there... or the other way round.
-- loonquawl, May 15 2009

Sounds fascinating, [loonquawl]. Could you post a link? I'd really like to try it.
-- nineteenthly, May 15 2009

[link] (only in german, though)
-- loonquawl, May 15 2009

Ich habe keine Probleme damit, ]loonquawl[.
-- nineteenthly, May 15 2009

Can you go into more detail about how this is different from the ideal of direct democracy?

Who reconciles the wishes of the people with the laws of physics and economics?
-- jutta, May 15 2009

Direct democracy involves direct decisions being made by the voters upon each individual issue. Under this concept, periodical elections are retained, and votes take place as they currently do; the key difference is that the politicians who end up in the parliament are people with views which mirror those of the electorate - rather than people who have persuaded the electorate to vote for them.
-- vincevincevince, May 15 2009

Did it, [loonquawl], and it occurred to me that if i believe one thing and vote one way in one country, i can achieve the same aims as voting the opposite way in another. For instance, were i British, i might want Germany out of the EU for completely different reasons than if i were German. This has no bearing on the idea whatever. Yes it has. In Italy, Northern League and Movement For Autonomies parties have sort of the same aims for opposite reasons. Does that not mean that an issue on nationalism, for example, might work both ways? Dunno where i'm going with this, it just seems like a problem.
-- nineteenthly, May 15 2009

The names of parties are unlikely to disappear (and stay disappeared) because the branding that parties offer can be very strong indeed.

Oh, and here is the UK equivalent of [loonquawl]'s link.
-- Aristotle, May 16 2009

I liked this idea at first before ole [zeno] threw the wet blanket of truth on it. I would like to see the people voice their opinions and then the officials most suited to that role take the office. However, they would have to bend to the polls on an issue they would not normally allow. Politicians being what they are, this doesn't stand a chance.
-- dentworth, May 16 2009

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