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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that is lent (in part or full) to a representative the voter trusts to defend their interests and which can be withdrawn without notice.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 23 2012: Hi Austin,

    It's refreshing that these subjects are discussed. Many thanks!

    I think that before we re-structure the system, we have to identify what we want the system to do.
    So .. what good IS a government?
    1. Well, it manages the judiciary. Pretty much everything a government does is to legislate.
    Is the judiciary functioning properly? This needs to be answered to provide a benchmark for desired outcomes.
    2. It manages national defence.
    3. It oversees the establishment and maintenance of social infrastructure.
    4. (most important) it occupies the dominant power niche and prevents internal and external power empires overpowering the niche.
    (let me know if I've missed anything here)

    SO, if these functions are still desirable in a re-structure. then we must evaluate the role and effectiveness of representation. It would not be sufficient to be represented on particular issues, it would also be necessary to measure outcomes. If representation failed ot achieve the outcome, the virtual vote could be returned to the voter for redistribution? And that if a representative's agregate vote fell below a threshold, teh representative would be dismissed and new candidates fielded?

    There is another way.
    If you converted all the services provided by a government into projects, you could have the projects presented instead of representatives. All tax would be abolished and replaced by a vote-tax on every bank account within the nation. Every account holder would have teh right to allocate funds from the tax-vote to whatever projects were on the list. A project would commence only when the estimated cost was covered by funding from the vote-tax. Projects that remain unfunded after the costing estimate period would be shelved for re-costing and the funds re-imbursed to teh accounts of origin for re-distribution.
    This would replace ballot voting and taxation. It would change governement from the position of dominator to servant. I00% democracy, 100% real-time.
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      Oct 23 2012: You raise interesting issues...

      The problem with these kind of "democracy with exceptions" suggestions, which I often receive when discussing these ideas is that they presume a professional body capable of performing the reviews which would somehow not become a power centre in itself. If such a body did exist it too would have to be democratically controlled or become as unaccountable as Iran's Supreme leader. Similarly you talk about proposals being voted on without reps... well someone has to write the damn thing! we might a well know who. Also what reps allow for in a way I don't think pure direct democracy would, is compromise and the production of long sophisticated (and carefully scrutinized) documents: The Legislation.

      furhtermore while you point out several key roles, I don't think government is quite so easily definable. Best leave that up to the voters of the future!
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        Oct 23 2012: What I propose is a simplification that re-connects the electorate directly to its interests.
        Representation is OK when the issues are simple, but the world can no longer be conceived by any individual in its totality - it's just too complex.
        What happens is that the issues get "bundled" by the power-parties such that desirable outcomes are always linked to undesirable outcomes that have a ratchet affect in the favour of the party. By converting the vote to projects, there is no linking - the project has a specific single outcome. This is exactly the project dynamic used by corporations, so the skill base and governance has already been developed.
        The proposal also addresses the local verses national problem of ballot voting. A tax-vote is much more likely to be cast to local issues before wider issues get looked at.
        I totally recognise that the system would get "gamed". It's kind of important that it does get gamed because this would provide a transition path for existing power structures (mostly parties) - who would otherwise work to resist and destroy the system. So, the parties would promote and advertise their preferred project priorities and publish "how to vote" lists, just as they do now. They would have one-button vote programs. The difference is that citizens would have the power to apply their own exceptions if they felt the need.
        Corporations would also weigh-in to win the project funding. So would churches and criminal organisations. It's important that criminal organisations get this opportunity as it brings focus on judiciary issues (legislation projects).
        Criminal organisations form the basis of all governments that develop under our current systems. They maintain power by dominance (subjugation - citizen is passive). With the tax-vote system, the emphasis moves towards leadership (loyalty - citizen is active).
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          Oct 30 2012: Hi Mitch, there would be votes held on proposals in my system, which people could participate in directly or through reps. The question is, who would be writing the proposals you speak of and how would the voting be scheduled etc? Who ever is doing that should be subject to accountability as well.
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        Oct 31 2012: Absolutely. Such a system would rely on 100% transparency.
        In fact, the project mix would have to include a set of due-diligence projects that oversee the transparency of teh system. Such expertise is already developed within corporations.
        The writers of proposals would be existing social leaders, but access to lodging a project proposal would be completely open to any citizen.
        The advantage of the vote-tax is that the perception of value is returned to the voter. This would give rise to far more political engaement (aka social responsibility).
        The media would then find some hard definitions to their journalistic role - that definition would possibly improve the quality of journaism.
        The only flaw is that a tax vote would not address power concentration in the rich who would have project influence in disproportion to the poor. The existing tax-scale mechanis might be imposed .. but I'm not sure if it would be needed .. one tends to assume that the rich will skew outcomes to their advantage and the disadvantage of the poor. But another approach is to take corporate tax and re-alocate it proportionally to the poorer voter. I do not regard corporations as persons. They cannot be allowed to vote, but they must be taxed ...
        The vote-tax is pretty much the same as your ballot-token idea, but it is real-time and retains personal propriety - this becomes your own money that you are spending socially. It would be advantageous to shift the tax into a second personal account that can only be spent on social projects. There would be no need for immediate disbursal - a social tax account could "save-up" potential funding for any period. Disbursal of static accounts might become part of a social "duty" attitude propogated through community attitudes.
        Accumulation in the vote-tax account would be transaction-based in every deposit to the personal account. This would ensure the best match to real time democracy.
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          Nov 1 2012: wait you're saying people pay to vote? that's repugnant and stupid.
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        Nov 1 2012: Hi Austin,

        You cannot say "repugnant and stupid" without explaination. Such blank assertions are a form of violence - I am sure you did not intend that?

        What I am saying is not "pay to vote", i am saying pay for social infrastructure - personally, not by proxy.

        You really have to be careful to not react to slogans .. I detect that you have some "trigger behaviour" programed into you.

        Pleaase read what is written and do your own critical thinking.

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