Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government United States Politics

CS Professor Announces Run For VT State Senate On a Platform of Internet Polling 226

Posted by Soulskill
from the of-by-and-for-the-internet-people dept.
Cynic writes "Having read pretty heavily on the topic, weighed the pros and cons, and seen a few relevant slashdot articles, I wondered why an elected representative couldn't use online and in-person polling of constituents to decide the way he or she votes. Though we are living in the 'information age' and have rich communications media and opportunities for deep and accessible deliberation, we are getting by (poorly) with horse-and-buggy-era representation. In the spirit of science and because I think it's legitimately a better way of doing things, I recently announced my candidacy for Vermont's State Senate in Washington County." How do you think such polling could be best accomplished? Do you think it's worth trying? Whether or not you buy into it, it's something that's only been made feasible in recent times with modern technology.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

CS Professor Announces Run For VT State Senate On a Platform of Internet Polling

Comments Filter:
  • It's Possible (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:06PM (#40147347)

    You'd have to set up the system so people can't vote multiple times. Otherwise they could have a bunch of bots automatically do thousands of votes to sway things however they wanted.

    • Re:It's Possible (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:23PM (#40147689)

      You'd also run into vocal minorities, which would be especially heavy as time wore on. John Q. Public doesn't really want to vote on every single bill or issue that arises, that's why he's happier with a republic than a direct democracy. Of course, if John is a heavy advocate of a fringe idea, he'll make sure to log on and vote at 6:00 AM sharp when that issue is up on this representative's poll page.

      Over time, as people forget that they elected this guy, fewer and fewer people will bother voting, leading to decreasing accuracy. I don't think it would be the worst situation for the voters (certainly it would be harder for single entities to lobby), but it would come with its own set of political issues.

      • by drkich (305460)

        You mean vocal minorities like corporations that hire lobbyists?

        • by zlives (2009072)

          money = votes, so if you are a rich corp, you are automagically a majority

          • by Chakra5 (1417951)

            money = votes, so if you are a rich corp, you are automagically a majority

            I beg to academically differ if i may

            Money != votes....at least not the peoples votes and not directly. It requires our collective consent before translating into actual votes.

            Money = advertising and influence
            Influence/lobbying equals politician's votes surely
            Advertising equals influence over sheeple , who then do indeed vote as directed (when bothering to take time from the cud).

            So money ends up influencing votes in the most egregious way. But if people were to decide that it was time to end corruption and

            • by zlives (2009072)

              power corrupts
              money is used to corrupt
              politicians have power (given by people)
              money corrupts politician
              corps are people
              corps are rich
              rich people use money to corrupt politicians
              can we vote out supreme court?

              my thoughts != coherent

      • Maybe, but the reason Mr. and Mrs. Public couldn't vote on every single bill or issue is time spent voting and time spent understanding and debating the issue. The advent of internet polling does away with the former - it's trivial to register a vote on an online poll every morning. As for the latter, well, since when have our elected officials fully and honestly understood and debated every bill? A large portion of what gets voted on is just "issue bills," and those are usually treated as if they're bla

        • l? A large portion of what gets voted on is just "issue bills," and those are usually treated as if they're black and white concepts anyway. In the end, all this guy needs to do is efficiently and fairly distill the essence of each bill into a few bullet points that people can easily say "Yea" or "Nay" on.

          Who gets to distill it down to a few bullet points? That is precisely the reason that so many complicated bills get treated like black and white issues. The point of an elected official is to actually spe

      • by Shavano (2541114)
        The regular political parties already do the will of vocal minorities.
      • You'd also run into vocal minorities, which would be especially heavy as time wore on. John Q. Public doesn't really want to vote on every single bill or issue that arises, that's why he's happier with a republic than a direct democracy.

        You could counter this by giving the representative one proxy vote for each citizen who doesn't cast a ballot on each issue. This would however mean that the representative stays in control unless 50-75% of citizens cast individual ballots on an issue. So you could tweak it to dial down the weighting of representative votes as participation rates increase.

        The security of online voting doesn't concern me as much. There is however an insoluble choice between anonymity (the secret ballot) and making it easy

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807)

      You'd have to set up the system so people can't vote multiple times.....

      There are so many other possibilities.

      • people who aren't supposed to vote, manage to vote
      • people who are supposed to vote get stopped voting through tricks (like in Canada)
      • the right people vote, but a trojan changes their online vote to a different thing from the one they wanted
      • a computer manufacturer or OS vendor uses their control to modify votes, just like the trojan
      • a minority of people has time to vote, the rest of the people have to work to keep their families together
      • a "special" minority of peop
      • ... a properly vetted secure device from a trustworthy manufacturer ...

        There's the issue in a pinch, isn't it? Who vets it? Who makes it? Who determines the trustworthiness?

        Let's decide on the group that gets to decide that by internet vote! We'll elect our representatives to make sure the system gets in place properly!...

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        a "special" minority of people go round people's houses and make sure they vote the "right" way.

        This.

        Here's a great way to do it - you go knocking on people's door with a WWAN-equipped tablet or laptop and say "Hi, we're petitioning for issue foo. We think it should pass, do you agree? If so, help us by signing our petition". Of course, the petition is really either the voting site thinly veiled (i.e., by signing, you're directly voting that way) or just some fancy proxy that votes for you.

        (A petition is a

      • Re:It's Possible (Score:4, Interesting)

        by icebike (68054) * on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @05:26PM (#40148533)

        Election security is difficult and makes voting processes slow and difficult. This is why democracies moved from direct voting to "representative democracy" in the first place.

        The state of public/private key technology today suggests to me that the system could be reasonably safe from each of the points you list, other than the purely social ones, (people with interest and time). You can't expect a polling system to solve social issues, such as disinterested voters, or organized vote buying. But duplicate or authorized users should be able to be controlled by a system of public/private key pairs.

        Other than state actors, I believe an Open Source on-line polling system where registration was still handled (or at least vetted) by election authorities, would be at least as safe as any system currently in place.

        Remember that the professor is looking for feedback from his constituents as to how he should vote, he is not looking to replace the ballot box.
        Perhaps this is where your worry about direct voting went off the rails. That is NOT what he is proposing.

        Direct democracy provides the people with a direct, unfiltered voice in that government. Stopping somewhat short of that, Hansen proposes a system of direct democracy in combination with our current system of representative democracy. He suggests that, “A representative should be elected who would work strictly as an advisor and make all policy and voting decisions based on the will of his or her constituents, regardless of personal opinion.

        So the bar is much lower than replacing the voting system. He is perfectly capable under current law to do exactly as he proposes, simply by setting up a web site and collecting opinions, and then voting that way.

        And in this regard such a system (if done right, or even approximately right) is probably better than the current method of lobbyists and letter writers, and campaign contribution fueled decision making. It at least has the potential of being more open, and more transparent.

        The risk is more from "anonymous" denial of service attackers taking down the system during polling periods when ever an issue they didn't like was under discussion. Even this could be somewhat mitigated by making so many targets (ip addresses) available that anonymous would run out of bot-power. But that solution is probably beyond the capabilities of any given representative and would have to be run at the state or at least county level.

      • by rsborg (111459)

        a minority of people has time to vote, the rest of the people have to work to keep their families together

        A really interesting book that looks at direct voting (sci-fi, future-tech) is Alistair Reynold's The Prefect [1]. The author posits a future where a small part of the populace does indeed dominate issue-based direct voting (and have a greater than 1:1 proportional vote weight) but that their weighting is tied to outcomes, thus providing a "feedback loop" into the mix. Interesting take.

        Regarding your overall premise, I agree - well, I guess my .sig pretty much shows my stance. Anyone who deals with any l

      • You post problems, but answers are obvious.

        Points 1&2&3&4 Well the banks manage online banking OK. I haven't noticed the extra odd $million in my account recently.. Just use their system with an accessible vote history on each account. And make the name-encrypted database available to everyone, and also use open source software where possible, but especially to tally the vote database.

        Point 5. If people take so little interest, they probably don't even vote for representatives. So no loss.

        • by Doc Ruby (173196)

          The Diebold voting machines that Bush/Cheney used to steal 2000 and 2004 elections were supplied by Diebold, which was primarily an ATM supplier.

          Both kinds of machines operated to protect Diebold's best interests. In the ATM case those interests coincided with the people using the machine. In the voting machine, not so much.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      You're going to run into the problem of having a self-selected group that is not representative of the voting populace. Those with a lot of internet know how will engage, which is a minority of people, and you'll be the representative who's totally out of touch with computer illiterates. Also those with strong opinions will participate heavily while those with mild opinions (even if not neutral) will decline to spend time making these opinions known. This is the same as Yelp and other similar things.

      Simi

  • slashdot polls (Score:4, Interesting)

    by anonymousNR (1254032) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:07PM (#40147363) Homepage
    Need I say more
    • by bigredradio (631970) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:16PM (#40147553) Homepage Journal
      Leaving all the decisions up to popular vote makes for poor decision making because the general public (usually) are not as informed as the lawmakers. Like Henry Ford said, "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse."
      • Leaving all the decisions up to popular vote makes for poor decision making because the general public (usually) are not as informed as the lawmakers. Like Henry Ford said, "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse."

        It's amazing the similarities in decision making skills between the general public and elected officials, isn't it?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:23PM (#40147677)

        Yea, TFS seems to imply that representative democracy was some kind of compromise based on logistics rather than a conscious choice. Even ignoring the lack of knowledge and understanding the average person has of complex issues, the tyranny of the majority is very real and something that all democracies need to keep a careful eye on. To use the most obvious of historical examples, in 1860 more than 50% of those eligible to vote supported slavery. That didn't make them right. And even looking past that, the practicalities of direct democracy go far past the logistics of collecting votes. Everyone will gladly vote for every tax break and most spending initiatives, then stand around wondering what happened when the city/state/country goes broke. Managing a national government is a full time job, best left to people able to work on it full time.

        *Disclaimer: I have zero faith in the current US Government and the way it operates. I just don't think direct democracy is anything resembling the solution since the only thing I have less faith in than the US Government is the US general voting population.

        • by steelfood (895457)

          That's because we've gone from a Republic to a direct democracy. There's a difference between electing our own senators, and having our state legislature pick them. It's a subtle difference, and the current method appears to be better. But it's not.

          • by DarkVader (121278)

            Well, what we have now IS better than state legislators electing senators.

            But it's terrible. If we're going to have a bicameral legislature, we need to district the senate, and stop tying it to the states at all. There is absolutely NO legitimate reason that North Dakota should have as much representation as New York.

            I think a better option would be a unicameral legislature that proposes bills, and a direct public vote for them to become law. We have the technology to do it now.

            • No, we don't need to district the Senate. We need to eliminate districts for Representatives. There are two reasons:

              First: Gerrymandering. It happens, despite whatever people may think. Every few years, districts are redrawn, and the politicians in power redraw the boundaries to their own advantage.

              Second: By eliminating districts, you reduce the stranglehold of the two big parties. If State X has 10 seats in the House of Representatives, you distribute these according to the overall vote. A third party can

  • A fantastic idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Nothing like mob rule to really get some well-thought-out laws passed.

    Maybe we can all vote on criminal trial verdicts too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe we can all vote on criminal trial verdicts too.

      Week 1: "Zimmerman's guilty, hang him!"
      Week 10: "Oh, maybe he wasn't, unhang him. We can't? Oh..."

      • by SiMac (409541)

        Week 1: "Zimmerman's guilty, hang him!"
        Week 10: "Oh, maybe he wasn't, unhang him. We can't? Oh..."

        While I certainly don't agree with GP's (sarcastic) position, this is really an argument against capital punishment, which, (barring invasive mind-reading technology) will always kill innocent people.

        • I think the bar should be much higher than it is on average for capitol punishment, however, it is possible to only convict those who are guilty, with the tradeoff that very few will be hanged. This is ok. There are some for which recovery is impossible, a return to society impossible, and reprieve impossible. These should be hanged by the neck until dead.

          There should never be *any* doubt prior to a capitol conviction (IMHO). If the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt then ok, incarcerate t

    • Re:A fantastic idea (Score:4, Informative)

      by magarity (164372) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:21PM (#40147639)

      This is exactly why even if this sounds like a good idea, it is not. The point of representative government is that one picks a representative, not a pass-through object. Representative candidate A takes certain positions on certain issues, representative candidate B take an alternative set of positions. Whoever is elected is supposed to do the dirty work of finding out that the proposed Sunshine For Kittens Act has nothing to do with neither sunshine nor kittens and vote for or against based on its actual provisions based on their platform. If you have an internet poll for "Should I vote for or against the Sunshine for Kitten Act (see link for details)" you're going to end up voting for it, even though the actual provisions are to spend billions on a combination tunnel/bridge across the Bering Sea. You can talk all you want about how voters are SUPPOSED to be informed, but if your experience in reality hasn't taught you the value of that truism yet, you'll never learn it.

    • by GodInHell (258915)

      Maybe we can all vote on criminal trial verdicts too.

      ::cough:: Jury of our peers. What exactly is it you think juries DO to reach a verdict?

      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        ::cough:: Jury of our peers. What exactly is it you think juries DO to reach a verdict?

        Sit in court for days/weeks/months, listen to both sides' arguments and evidence, and assemble for a period of discussion among themselves for as long as it takes to reach a decision (after, of course, being vetted by both sides and the judge). The Internet... well, let's just say it tends to be a little less objective, far less informed, and significantly more hasty than that, 99% of the time. Would you want random Youtube commentators to decide your verdict in a trial?

        • by Whorhay (1319089)

          Of course not, but that isn't what is being proposed here. This is a candidate for elected office actually taking whatever position on an issue the people he represents dictate. The method used for polling is of debatable merit. But who would honestly complain about having a representative actually represent them?

          The merit of such a system in my view is that it would help alleviate the absurdity of a two party system.

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:08PM (#40147373)
    So the most effective hacker gets to determine the representative's positions?
    • While hacking the polls is one danger, the other danger is gaming it. If his constituents were polled and voted in favor of something he found morally reprehensible, would he still vote in favor of it, or would he claim that the poll broke his way? Who is going to verify the results?
    • Re:Security (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hentes (2461350) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:20PM (#40147617)

      Still better than the richest corporation.

    • And so, by a vote of %5 no and 135% yes, the county shall now be known as "1337 R0X0R" county
    • by rsborg (111459)

      So the most effective hacker gets to determine the representative's positions?

      I can just see the headlines now: "99% of the ballots were cast 2 seconds after polling was open!"

  • What if the constituents that want to voice their opinion don't have access to the 'net?

    The other thought that came to mind is, "um, do you feel compelled to sign a 'pledge'?" If so, then as a solid Republican since '71; I say, "we don't need you."
  • Not a better way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:08PM (#40147391)

    "I wondered why an elected representative couldn't use...polling of constituents to decide the way he or she votes."

    Because the electorate are stupid and ignorant, and malware will be developed to submit votes.

    "In the spirit of science and because I think it's legitimately a better way of doing things'

    If you really believe these things, then you should absolutely never hold any public office whatsoever.

    Ignoring your constituency is very bad; doing exactly what they say is worse.

  • Even if the polling could be made to work to get a true representation of the people's will (and not of some determined hackers, social engineer or just well organised group), there is a much bigger problem. One of the important uses of representative democracy is that the People are often wrong about the details, and you can't let them make all the choices. As an example, see California, which has a very strong popular initiave system (referendums), and they voted themselves low taxes and lots of services,

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      What are you saying? Are you trying to imply that 4chan isn't the best choice for President?

  • Bad Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nuckfuts (690967) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:17PM (#40147567)

    Even if one disregards the technical hurdles, the very idea of government run strictly by polling is ill advised. Firstly, poll results are heavily influenced by the wording of the questions. This would essentially be handing over a great deal of influence to whoever gets to phrase the questions. Secondly, it is likely to encourage demagogy. [wikipedia.org]

  • >> an elected representative (could use)...polling of constituents to decide the way he or she votes

    We already have this. It's called..."polling", and it's a major function of entrenched political parties and their support groups.

    Of course, the way the question is phrased has a lot to do with the outcome (remember opposition to the "dihydrogen oxide" plants?), so political support groups spend time crafting polling questions that help show that the majority is clearly with their team. (e.g., "Do you support the terrorists and my opponent, or apple pie and me?")

    So, meh. Interesting proposal, but ridiculously naive.

  • Why not just remove the representatives completely? With that strategy, you get rid of the worst problem in government: lobbyists. If anyone in the country could be voting, then they will have to lobby everyone and no one has problem with that.

    The voting could be statistical and random. Use some nice mathematics and multiple ways to vote from verified citizens and certificates. Just get the thing done. Institute a requirement for a super majority (60-80%) to pass anything. Bam! Problems solved.

    As far

    • What gets me is the number of people who fail to realize that the majority of lobbyists work for non-profit organizations, from Greenpeace to the NRA. That is the majority of lobbyists are hired by groups of people who have gotten together and pooled their money so as to petition Congress to take action on issues that are of particular concern to them...you know, the way some here on slashdot have done concerning Network Neutrality.
  • Here's how I see it. Feel free to add your own. It would be an interesting experiment, but I think the cons may outweigh the pros. Pros: -True democracy -Actual representation of the constituents -Ability to gauge public opinion on X almost instantly -People may get more interested in politics and more willing to participate Cons: -True democracy (all people are ignorant on a large amount of subjects which could lead to poor decisions en masse) -Uninformed voters, instead of voting for a person to make
    • Ugh, let's try this again with formatting. Note to self: preview exists for a reason. Here's how I see it. Feel free to add your own. It would be an interesting experiment, but I think the cons may outweigh the pros.

      Pros:
      -True democracy
      -Actual representation of the constituents
      -Ability to gauge public opinion on X almost instantly
      -People may get more interested in politics and more willing to participate

      Cons:

      -True democracy (all people are ignorant on a large amount of subjects which could
  • Vermont has a long tradition of town meetings where people actually meet - in person - to discuss the issues.

    It has worked pretty well. Too bad yet another newcomer feels the need to remake Vermont in his image.

    Maybe I can get Avi Rubin to run against him.

  • by rgbrenner (317308) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:23PM (#40147685)

    This guy clearly doesn't understand the job he's applying for. We live in a REPUBLIC.. which means we elect people to vote on our behalf for/against proposed laws.

    Our founders knew that people did not have the time to read, understand, and vote on each and every issue.

    Do you really think technology changes that? In the 2009-2010 congress [govtrack.us], there were: 9239 proposed bills, 998 acted on by the congress, 26 failed, and 366 enacted = 10629 bills.

    Each one hundreds or even thousands of pages long.

    So seriously ask yourself: do you have time to read a several hundred page law, filled with legalese and references to other laws, 29 times per day every day of the year?

    There's a reason why our REPRESENTATIVES have dozens of staff.

  • Get elected, actually READ legislation before voting on it, actually WRITE legislation you submit, abstain from or vote no on anything where neither of the above are possible.

    The "horse and buggy" model isn't just because of distance. It is because even the most well-informed voter cannot possibly have the time to comprehend every piece of legislation that comes up, so they vote for someone who generally aligns with their interests who's f'ing JOB it is to know how to analyze and vote accordingly WITHOUT a

  • internet makes it easier to cheat then in the old days of voteing.

    Hell you can code a page to make it look like you voted but make it really vote for the other guy or not even take your vote at all.

  • your employer can make you vote at work their way with your boss breathing down your back as you vote online at work.

  • 1. Those without Internet get no vote.
    2. Ballot-stuffers, firewalls, botnets, etc.
    3. The most vocal and thus most likely to vote are not necessarily representative of the public's opinion. Case in point: The Parent's Television Council, which represents about 120,000 people, is able to dictate what the other 300 million people in the US are allowed to see on broadcast television.
    4. Those without the time to do the research don't vote in a way that makes any sense.

  • How will he ever be elected?

    Our system is based on "one dollar one vote" more or less whoever donates the most re-election funds.

    So his election donors have no idea how he will vote, vs the other guy who will do what he is paid to do.

    Will he be able to afford to run a campaign at all?

  • I assume that he'd use something that's already been tested, like LiquidFeedback [liquidfeedback.org], which was developed by members of German Pirate Party. ... or any of the other ones in the list of active [metagovernment.org] or related [metagovernment.org] projects listed at metagovernment.org [metagovernment.org]

  • by anyaristow (1448609) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:41PM (#40147925)

    I don't just want an elected official to do what I say. If I'm honest I'll admit that I don't give things that aren't my full-time job enough consideration to make decisions I want acted on. I want my elected official to spend more time considering it that I did. I want him to take into account my wishes, and the wishes of everyone else he represents, but also do some research that I didn't do, surround himself with experts that I don't have access to, and talk to people that aren't in my social circles, and make a better decision than I can. I vote for people I hope can do these things with diligence and integrity, not people who will vote the will of a million uninformed people.

  • by vinn (4370) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @04:56PM (#40148175) Homepage Journal

    First off, I'm an elected official and sit on a town council, so I have some insight in this. This sounds crass, but people are too dumb to understand every issue and special interests will get constituents to manipulate polls.

    The reason we have elected officials is quite simply because the process of governing in a democracy is time consuming and requires people who can devote time to actually studying issues and making decisions. The average person may have time to study an issue here or an issue there, but no one has time to study every proposed bill and dig through the gory details of all state statutes. That's not to say you need to be a lawyer to understand this stuff, because most of the time you don't, but you need time. It's also not to say most people can't understand a particular topic, because 90% of the time most people can, it's understanding how they relate that gets difficult. For example, there could be a proposed bill for something like "Allow counties to assess 100% of voted mills for rural fire department special districts that choose not to collect their entire levied mills." Well, it may not make any sense and may need to die in committee if a bill was passed last year that says, "Rural fire department special districts crossing county lines must follow the same boundaries as school districts unless a park district exists along the same boundaries with a corresponding mill levy." Really exciting stuff that most people just aren't going to care about.

    Even assuming people can intimately spend time to understand issues, it's astonishing how much people want to just jump on special interest bandwagons. When it comes to state issues, all it takes is some large outfit to take notice and rile up it's base. If you're going to poll people, you're simply going to get a skewed poll on any subject and moderates are going to get drowned out. That's the last thing we need. Take the example above - one group can easily skew it to say, "The county governments want to raise your taxes and take more money from you!" Another group could easily say, "We absolutely better fire protection and here's a way to do it without raising taxes." Both groups could be right, both could be wrong, or the answer is something more gray and in the middle. Most likely it's gray and in the middle and most likely mindboggingly boring and most likely only brought up because Rep. Joe Smith in West County ran into the issue, needed clarification in the state statutes about it, and it's going to be another 50 years before someone else cares about it.

    Now, having said that, I think anything that gets people to get involved with their government is a good thing. Most people simply like to bitch about it without understanding it or participating in it. (Hey you - if you've never gone to your local town council meeting, you should do it sometime just to see how it works. You'll learn something about the people you vote for.)

    • All excellent points.

      To distill it even further, how would we make unpopular decisions? Tyranny of the masses is not an effective form of government.

  • My constituents vote me into office to do the work for them.

    This evening after a four hour formal public committee meeting I made decisions on two related items, for which I'd had to read and understand a 1,500 page agenda pack, most of which I'd seen (and contributed to) several times before in the various drafting stages over the past few months.

    Now, who do you suppose is in a better position to make a good decision:

    (a) the elected politician, who has done all the above work (plus many hours of informal p

  • by bmacs27 (1314285)
    Representative BOTNET.
  • Pure democracies do no work; that's there hasn't been one in in 2000 years (if even that counts). The average person simply isn't informed enough about every issue to make valid decisions. Plus, you have to guarantee near total participation for even the theory to work. In our society of imbalanced access to resources, you're invariably going to end up with a daily voting class (probably wildly slanted to retirees) disenfranchising the working/busy/disconnected members of society who won't be able to log

  • So what if you e-polled your constituents about, say, reinstating slavery, public segregation, revocation of black voting rights, or renewed forced sterilization of mentally ill people, and a majority responded in favor of it? Would you slavishly honor the will of that misguided majority, or would you try to inject a little meta-parental oversight into it?

    Democracy ain't perfect. I hope this dude recognizes that, aside from his little publicity stunt.

  • You may have already realized from the comments that many of the respondents took what you said:
    "I wondered why an elected representative couldn't use online and in-person polling of constituents to decide the way he or she votes."
    and interpreted it as:
    "I wondered why we couldn't use online and in-person polling of constituents to decide the whether or not a bill is passed."
    I think that is a reasonable interpretation, but I doubt that's what you meant.

    I'm going with the belief that you meant to say somethin

  • Plank One -- Nonsensical polling idea that will be sure to attract attention.

  • Our legislatures are designed to be re-publics: members of the public who represent the public at large. Representatives are supposed to be leaders who represent the people, but not necessarily their day to day whims. It's one reason why we don't have direct democracy, putting every vote to public ballot.

    What would be good would be a poll before every vote, published before every vote. Then the rep voting however they best decided to represent the public's interest. Voting in the legislature against the res

  • see subject.

  • by ShakaUVM (157947)

    I've debated something along the same lines for at least a decade now.

    It's nice to see someone going forward with it.

    Even if direct democracy is a danger, I don't see why each representative shouldn't have his own forum set up for his constituents.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

Working...