Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Driving to work in the AM, I was thinking about how technology, properly distributed, could revolutionize voting if we let it happen.

Gerrymandering, corruption, lies, and all the piles of steaming soundbite we get right now are only moderately less corrupt than the sort of systems of government our nation was founded to prevent. I mean, our politicians don't take bribes. They take *political contributions to their campaign*. It's not a bribe! It's tax deductible! It must be reported to the public where anyone with the patience can sift through ream after ream of data searching for the corruption buried there in the ledgers by comparing it to public record things like voting records and government contract bid winners and stuff... Yeah.

Technology can only mitigate that so much. But, if everyone's on-line, there's another way.

I was thinking about how districts could be replaced by 100 person units of people, thereabouts, that each collectively count as one vote--average, ordinary citizens--and each live in the same state though are randomly selected from inside that state. This group get access to a special message board, where they operate behind handles they choose for themselves like every message board in the world. Voting happens through the board, itself. These 100 people get to openly debate amongst themselves about whatever they want. Rigorous debate right up to the deadline, with a vote cast that can be changed right up until the deadline.

This unit of 100 becomes just one vote. The votes tally across the states from these randomized "districts", which mutes the populist elements that could kill minority rights into a straight majority. 51-49 is an equal vote to 99-1.

Moderation duties are revolving board-by-board. Any issue can be sent up to a larger "judicial" system of independently-appointed, lifelong members of the UberMods.

Tally the votes, without gerrymandered districts. Tally the votes with rigorous debate done by the citizens themselves, if they choose to do so. (Or, they could just swing through, click their vote, and swing out.)

If I believed in a utopian voting system in the future, for any of my stories--and I don't believe politicians are going to be willing to make the system fair--then this is what I'd probably use.

Which is to say, I will never use it. I prefer ruinous despots for my stories.

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