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07 May 2019  (484 Views) 
Political systems

A practical way to achieve direct democracy
I like the Swiss system of direct democracy. 

Every three months, the citizens are asked to participate in a referendum and vote on a number of issues concerning the laws to be passed in the country. I do not know if the results are binding on their legislature or used by the legislature as a guide in the passing of the laws. 

One objection to the referendum system is the work that is required to organize it. I like to suggest how the work can be handled more efficiently.

a) Who can vote?
I suggest that citizens are allowed to vote in the referendum but they must register to participate it it. Citizens who are not interested can opt not to vote. Voting is not compulsory. 

The reference will reflect the wishes to the citizens who are interested to vote. Although this may reflect a lower turnout, as it is voluntary, the results can be representative of the wishes of the population. If the issue is important, more citizens will register to participate. 

b) Proxy
A citizen can give a proxy to another citizen to vote on his behalf. This can be the head of the family or the leader in a community. The number of proxies held by any voter can be limited to (say) 100 votes.

This system can address the concern that some voters do not have access to the internet and are not able to vote. They can give their proxy to a trusted family member or friend.

c) Electronic voting
The voting will be carried out electronically. The voter must have access to the internet and has to login with the voter ID and password. For additional security, a 2FA can be used.

d) Time of voting
The voting can be carried out during a set period, e.g. three hour timeframe. 

e) Counting of votes
As the voting is done electronically, the counting can be completed quickly to obtain the results.

f) Integrity of voting
There is the risk that the electronic voting can be hacked and tampered with. There are ways to prevent it and to ensure the integrity of the voting. It requires the votes to be recorded into two separate databases under the control of two independent authorities, e.g. the election commission and the courts. The individual votes can be compared and any discrepancy (e.g. due to hacking or fraudulent alteration) can be disregarded. I have described this approach in more detail in a separate post.

The direct democracy system is popular with the Swiss. They have high trust in the usefulness of this system. 

I suggest that it be adopted by other countries to strengthen and improve democracy.


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