TED Conversations

Austin Mackell

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A divisible real time mandate system for representative democracy.

REAL TIME VOTING is a system based around transforming the vote from a single use token issued every 4 years into a permanent possession of the voter – something that is lent (in part or full) to a representative the voter trusts to defend their interests and which can be withdrawn without notice.

It would be an online voting system in which each voter would have a personal homepage. Here would be the voters “pot”. Upon the first log in, this pot would contain their entire vote. They would then be able to break this vote into portions of whatever size they liked, called tokens, and proceed to distribute them to representatives. A voter could, for example, give a third of their vote to a candidate who shared their economic views, another third to one with a position on the environment they shared, a sixth to a candidate advocating for a persecuted minority, and the final sixth to a candidate advocating for their local community.

This last option is significant, as while such a system would be, by its nature, inimical to district based voting, it would allow for local representation where it was desired – difficult in current models of proportional representation where people have one vote, once every four years. Indeed one can imagine a community that felt it had been abandoned by the broader political class quickly pooling a substantial chunk of its votes behind a candidate.

The representatives’ voting power would increase and decrease in proportion with their share of active vote tokens. A representative with a total of 10% of active vote tokens would cast a vote that counts for twice that of her colleague with 5% of active tokens. representatives announce their position in advance, giving the voter a chance to withdraw support.

Percentages of active tokens would also be important in allocating speaking time, and the number of opportunities a representative would have to introduce a motion New reps could collect votes from friends and neighbors to start.

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  • Oct 21 2012: Computer literacy & accessibility definitely what I meant by literacy globally. But which model of democracy should we choose? In the current Australian construct "1st or next nearest past the post" 51 percent can be favoured over 49%. I don't think that has ever worked for the people in Australia and I shudder at how this would work globally. So perhaps there need to be Global discussion forums where ideas are discussed for a long time until a genuine consensus position is reached without dissent. There is of course the inevitable case that parties of perceived left and right along with churches and other self interested structures will have their people trying to drag this method screaming and kicking back to the paradigm where they are comfortable.. being the status quo which they benefit from. However as with Occupy , it is not a short term thing and if not be treated as such may just work
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      Oct 23 2012: Regarding "which model of democracy should we choose" - this is what my proposal hopes to answer (or go some way towards answering). Whether a simple 51-49 majority or (50.0000000000000001% to 49.9999999999999999999) is enough- well it seems a little silly. However consensus only works where no one is trying to game the system and fuck things up, when real power is being wielded and real interestes are at stake, this will be constant. Any number we pick (say 60%?) however, seems to be arbitrary.

      Something to discover through experimentation as models like this are used to run the revolutionary/reformist organisation(s).

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