David Grant talks about sortition

The Reading Eagle reports:

Using a lottery to name the members of a citizen legislature would make that legislature more truly representative of the population and uncouple the link between money and the influence it buys in elections.

That was part of a message David Grant delivered to 17 people gathered Saturday in the Reading Friends Meetinghouse.


The founders of the United States rejected sortition and went with the Roman version of democracy, which put the government and the power in the hands of landholders, merchants and men of learned professions, Grant said.

A citizen legislature would function like an informed jury making decisions on the proposals before it, much like a randomly selected court jury is trusted to make life-and-death decisions, he said.


Grant acknowledged sortition is not likely to catch on quickly. Instead, it should be tried first on the municipal and state level, he said.

A well-designed, gradual transition would reduce the risk of catastrophic, unintended consequences, Grant said.

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