Liquid representation

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About

Liquid representation is a possible solution for the democracy problem. It is an alternative that many may find more acceptable than liquid democracy (LD). Many people seem to automatically reject anything that looks like direct democracy (DD) as being fundamentally unworkable, and hence reject LD because of its DD roots. While this proposal should work out to creating much the same distribution of power, it starts with a scenario that looks more like a standard (and therefore "safe") representative democracy.

Rules

1. If I vote for someone, they are my representative -- regardless of how few votes they received.
2. The weight of my representative's vote in the assembly (whether that be US Congress, a state Congress, or some smaller body) is directly proportional to the number of people who voted for them.
3. If we end up with too many representatives for any kind of reasonable discussion to take place, then we can consolidate further by any of several methods:
3a. Instant Runoff Voting: Each voter could rank their preferred representatives in order. If their first choice doesn't get enough votes, then they get their second choice... and so on. OR...
3b. Representatives with fewer than X votes (determined by some kind of percentile ranking, perhaps) need to get together and choose a smaller number of super-representatives (to be the actual representative in assembly). Each sub-representative can then decide whether to actively represent their voters (possibly without adequate financial compensation), or whether to simply hand off their voters to the super-representative.
3c. Any representative who doesn't get enough votes doesn't go to the Assembly, and their voters are left unrepresented -- but can quickly switch to any other sitting representative (see Rule 4).
4. Any voter should ideally be able to switch allegiance at any time, but we may need some way to reduce churn if this causes issues.

FAQ

  • Q: How does a representative get on the ballot with this model?
    • A: There shouldn't be any need to restrict the list of representatives; if someone wants to be a candidate, they would simply add their name to the list of candidates.
      • If, however, we wanted a system in which individuals could be "drafted" (equivalent to "write-in voting"), then we would need to be able to gracefully handle situations where the draftee did not want to serve as a representative. Two ways to deal with this come to mind:
        • 1. Simply state that there is no compulsion to serve, or serve adequately. If a representative wants to "phone it in" and do a lousy job -- or no job at all -- that's up to them, and it's up to their constituents to decide how to respond if they're doing a terrible job. (In other words: do nothing; the problem takes care of itself.)
        • 2. Allow any representative to reassign any (or all) of their votes to another representative, at any time. (This might even become a regular thing: for example, I vote for a trusted friend or family member in the knowledge that even though they are not currently able to serve as a representative, they have studied the field more than I have and will reassign my vote responsibly. This brings liquid representation even closer to liquid democracy.)

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