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What about doing away with politicians and voting online for all issues?

With ubiquitous Internet connectivity, isn't it possible by now to represent our own votes on issues online? Do we even need elected officials anymore to represent our voice? These "representatives" aren't even guaranteed to show up to vote and our true vote may get diluted or aggregated once it is brought to the floor of a House of "Representatives" by mechanisms none of us understand.

What if there was a public site that had multiple translations of municipal to national issues on the table.
- Advocates / critics have ONE page each to describe their sides & risk lack of support if too jargon-y.
- People log in & vote. (There is a window of 2 months to vote).
- Registered voters can only vote once on each issue.
- There's a mediated forum of debate in a related link. Each registered voter has a total of 500 characters to spend in the debate forum--forcing them to be succinct.
- Activists on the street are busy encouraging people to get online and vote in that window and to inform the public of their side.
- There is a quorum, or minimum number of total voters needed to validate a vote (voting periods can be extended until quorum is met)
- Politicians are only needed to enact the passing of the laws after they are validated.
- If people are unhappy with the results of a vote, then they go through a process of applying for a new referendum--which would require 30% of registered voters agreeing to a re-vote.
- Anyone can apply for a new law to happen provided that 30% of the registered voters elect for it to be put up for vote.

Basically, a referendum on everything. And each registered voter can pursue the issues that he/she is interested in. Thus, a whole country of voters looking into all issues, I'm certain, is more effective in producing democratic results than an elected official who cannot possibly be an expert on everything.

Perhaps this can be tried with a neighborhood, condo community, company or small town to see how it would play out. :)


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  • Apr 19 2011: While this sounds good on its face, the problem is that not everyone has equal access to the very technology we would use to vote. Someone like me, with a computer at home, at work, on my phone, could vote more easily than someone living out somewhere without that luxury/ability. So it would serve to tilt the power slightly to those (very many, I agree) who happen to have the economic means and infrastructure to access the Internet, while disenfranchising those who do not.
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      Apr 21 2011: I agree with you Frank that uniform access is a problem..voting electronically wouldn't require uniform access or literacy..polling places or town halls or librabries could offer terminals and of course paper ballots could still be used. Particptaion in the process of law making..participation in public comment is another matter..I think the kind of involvement that requires, the level of computer literacy that requires can't be achieved through free access terminals..also at the moment rural areas don't have universal wi-fi or broad band yet which limits the possibilities of full participation in an internet based involvement beyond voting. That would be a good TED topic on its own..how we create the universal "one lap top per household" that would need to exist? How do we facilitate/expedite universal wi-fi hi speed access? When my Mom was 80 she took a class at her local library called "Cyber-Savy Seniors"..we fixed her up with a PC and off she went..active e-mail with friends around the world, masters level competitive bridge on line, researching the drugs she was perscribed,.researching alternate treatments for her diseases. So I know for sure 100% computer literacy is possible..it's really, for many who are truly struggling, an issue of affordability and a little bit of initial training. And of uniiversal hi speed wireless access.

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