Tim Dunlop: What if voting actually hampers democratic governance?

Tim Dunlop has been reading David van Reybrouk:

A ‘lottery’ electoral system could break our malaise

Perhaps it’s time to overhaul our voting system and instigate a form of “lottery” whereby our MPs are elected on the basis of random sampling. It may not be perfect, but neither is our current system, writes Tim Dunlop.

The basic logic of voting is that it is the method by which we determine the will of the people. Free elections are therefore understood to be the cornerstone – the defining characteristic – of democratic governance.

No vote, no democracy is just about a truism.

But what if that’s wrong? What if voting actually hampers democratic governance and is leading to undemocratic outcomes?

What if all the stuff we complain about in regard to our politicians – that they are unrepresentative, that they are out of touch, that they are in the pocket of various vested interests, that all they are really interested in is getting re-elected – what if all those problems are actually a by-product of voting itself?

In fact, Dunlop does a better job of presenting the idea of sortition than van Reybrouk himself. van Raybrouk never quite manages to point out what is wrong with elections. He spins a convoluted story in which elections were supposedly once democratic but are now no longer sufficiently so. This story may provide van Reybrouk with some sort of cover for his anti-electoralist heresy, but it makes his point incoherent. Dunlop, on the other hand, drops this supposedly historical argument and his introductory paragraphs above make the argument for sortition clearly and succinctly.