Two proposals for representative representation

Representative representation: a citizens’ jury appointed by sortition (v 2019.03.11). (For a fuller context, see the paper released by democratie.nu: ‘Sortition as a democratic system for the appointment of a real parliament, also called ‘Citizens’ Jury’).

Introduction

Proposal I: The principle of our proposals is derived from some aspects of the jury in its judicial application. The ‘Legislative Citizens’ Jury’ is only called when necessary and has a short term mandate with the power to make a decision in just one specific case.

During the national elections, voters can allocate a number of additional parliamentary ‘seats’ to a descriptively representative Citizens’ Jury of at least 500 citizens, appointed by sortition[1]. This Legislative Citizens’ Jury will vote, along with the elected parliamentarians, on all bills and proposals for implementing decisions that citizens consider to be of sufficient social importance. A new jury will be summoned for each vote.

Questions and answers

Q1. What does the legislative power look like after summoning a ‘Legislative Citizens’ Jury’?

A1. The Citizens’ Jury presents itself like a ‘party’ in the political structure. The citizen himself determines the balance of power during free elections.



Q2. What does the legislative decision structure look like if the citizens’ jury is not called?

A2. In that case the functioning remains the same as it is now.

Q3. How is the distribution of seats calculated?

A3. There are several possibilities.

An example: During the elections, citizens can vote for a party (candidate) or the Citizens’ Jury. They can also divide their vote between a party and the Citizens’ Jury (to split one’s vote).
Whether this changes the distribution of seats, and thus the balance of power in parliament, will also depend on the number of citizens who previously did not vote or turned in a blank ballot paper and who might now participate as well in the elections.

The distribution of seats would first be calculated for the parties, according to the current calculation system, without taking into account the votes for the Citizens’ Jury. This results in the distribution of seats for the parliament.
Subsequently, the average number of votes necessary to obtain a seat in parliament can be derived from that, after which the ‘additional virtual seats’ for the Citizens’ Jury are calculated.

Q4. How is the Legislative Citizens’ Jury summoned? (*1)

A4. There are 4 possibilities for the summons of the Legislative Citizens’ Jury.

In response to a bill or an implementing decision of the Parliament

In response to a legislative proposal or implementing decision of the Evaluation jury that is also submitted to the elected parliamentarians.

The Agenda Jury is permanently active with a rapidly changing occupation. The Evaluation jury is summoned by a petition.
If the proposal were interpreted more broadly, an extended Evaluation Jury (ref. G 1000), which is convened once a year, could launch its own proposals (see e.g. our ‘two chamber’-proposal at European level).

Footnote:

[1] Pitkin 1967: ‘The third form is descriptive representation and is based on similarity. This form occurs when a person shares ascriptive characteristics with his or her political representative. Ascriptive characteristics are characteristics that are difficult to change, such as race, ethnicity, gender or having the same experiences or common interests. Descriptive representation revolves around the characteristics of a particular group that can be recognized in the representative.’ Also see Samantha Koelewijn (PDF), p. 11, section 2.1.1.

40 Responses

  1. Paul, I’m a bit puzzled by the title — as Pitkin points out descriptive representation is but one variant of the genus “representation”; elected officials represent their constituents, but in a different way.

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  2. Paul, this sounds like a complicated way to go where GILT, our “Non-partisan Party” in Austria, is going anyway but without requiring a change in the Constitution: We simply run for the elections and our seats essentially vote in accordance to the outcome of our descriptive “Bürgerparlamente” (citizen parliaments).

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  3. >Keith : This is the first of 7 additional documents to our proposal. We explain the terms used in the next document(s) https://www.academia.edu/38519482/TERMS_and_APPLICATIONS_SORTITION_in_REPRESENTATIVE_GOVERNMENT
    ….We have to stress that representation does not mean automatically representativeness. I can in person and on my own ‘represent’ a whole geographic area but I am not at all ‘descriptive representative’ for this area. Also the claim of ‘geographic and demographic representative’ (for example the ‘Oregon CIR’) has a very limited representativeness and can not be regarded as suitable for legislative uses. It can however be used, if carefully crafted, at the ‘information’ level. (See the Arnstein participation ladder or Archon Fung participation cube)…..

    With ‘representative’ we do mean in our proposal ‘descriptive representation’ without any compromise. What we try in this first document is to show that in our proposal the citizen himself decide how much ‘legislative’ power is assigned to the ‘jury’ appointed by sortition. It can be compared with the creation of a new political party who takes part in the elections but without any program and the jury as the ‘party’.

    This gives the ‘jury’ the necessary legitimacy. The same legitimacy the elected representatives are claiming (I can decide what ever I want because I have a mandate to do so, given to me by the electorate in free elections). By doing so one of the objections towards a ‘jury’ at the legislative level is countered.

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  4. >hubertushofkirchner: yes indeed, it has some resemblance. I studied GILT when it started. It has also resemblance with DEMOEX in Sweden https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demoex Per Norback wrote a small book of his experiences (The little horse from Athens, he can be contacted also). Our proposal is without the problem that an ‘imperative mandate’ is also not allowed in our constitution and that we have to wait and see what elected representatives, once in power, will do. We don’t have any means to interfere with what ever they decide once elected. It also does not avoid ‘career planning’ once elected. I was once part of a new political party here in Belgium and one of our elected representatives was ‘bought’ away before he even could start. The same thing happened to Demoex as far as I know.

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  5. Paul:> With ‘representative’ we do mean in our proposal ‘descriptive representation’ without any compromise.

    OK, but then you are using the word in an entirely different way from everyone else. Pitkin takes an ordinary language approach, and the examples she chooses demonstrate how a person who shares none of the ascriptive characteristics of her clients can still represent their interests in a meaningful way. As such “representative representation” is an empty tautology. It’s really not helpful to invent a private language if you want to persuade people outside of the magic circle.

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  6. >Paul: There is no such problem. GILT 2.0 does not require an imperative mandate. GILT candidates for elected positions merely take an oath to disregard their individual self-interest or that of any particular party but to vote their best understanding of the true General Will of the body of citizens (as determined by GILT’s best practice citizen parliaments).

    Our a priori assumption is that – as they will be equipped with the full gamut of pro/con arguments, bull/bear predictions, and a cross-tabbed jury vote – they will enjoy the strongest and most legitimate authority in parliament if they represent the jury’s result as the General Will. Feel free to challenge this assumption on our debate page about “Open Democracy”.

    PS: The career planning aspect also needs a solution, no doubt. F.A. Hayek had some interesting proposals for this part in his “demarchy” proposal (just that aspect, no comment on other elements.)

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  7. Keith: “…how a person who shares none of the ascriptive characteristics of her clients can still represent their interests in a meaningful way.”

    Party politicians contradict the generality of this statement. There is very real issue of “Fake Representation”, so there is a point in asking for “Representative Representation”.

    Representation as regards to deciding the General Will as a Collective Intelligence is near limitless multi-dimensional task, well beyond sociodemographics but also needs also representativeness for values. The necessity of subject matter knowledge, intelligence, and foresight is another grounds against naive sociodemographic representation as so many sortitionists require. That’s why the lucid Article 6 of the “Rights of Citizens” demanded a distinction by virtues and talents.

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  8. ok Keith, no problem to rephrase it in the next edition. It is a translation of a text in Dutch and although I try to read English I am sure that I am wrong in some interpretations and certainly in such a difficult domain. The translation is in most cases done by language students but in the ‘wrong’ direction (from Dutch to English while Dutch is their native language). When I read ‘representative representation’ then this is what I mean to say, in Dutch.

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  9. >hubertushofkirchner: In our proposals we used all our own experiences and knowledge combined with all the other proposals we could find and read. I am sure that there are evolutions we missed, things are going fast these days, especially ideas. I am not against the idea of the Imperative mandate but it is a study on his own. Anyway I hope that it has succes, it is what we call ‘a Trojan horse’. If it will be more than a ‘door opener’ and also is capable to govern ‘the town’ after the door is open is left to be seen. But it is one of the only things we can actually do in our electoral system.

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  10. Hubertus:> Party politicians contradict the generality of this statement

    My point was about the meaning of the word “representation”, not an assessment of how well (or badly) it is instituted in liberal democracies. Most of Pitkin’s examples are from other domains — e.g. how a lawyer represents the interests of her client.

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  11. I think this suggestion has merit, however I think it would be drowned out in environments with high levels of negative partisanship. When society is highly polarized, the members of the citizen jury are likely to align against the party they dislike. Since the permanent party structure still controls the legislative agenda, a vote for the citizen jury simply becomes a kind of wasted vote. I think many voters would not vote for the citizen jury for this reason.

    I think this suggestion would be more effective if it were coupled with a way to wrest the legislative agenda away from the permanent parties, at least in part. I think that is what is hinted at with the last sentence (“an extended Evaluation Jury…could launch its own proposals”); I would like to see more on this idea.

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  12. >Alex: Yes indeed. Te ‘political agenda setting’ now starts in the evaluation Jury at citizens initiative (by petition, possibility 3) . An expansion would be indeed that the Evaluation Jury also has the power to launch his own proposals. But this short version has to give an idea of how it works. When you look at the ‘evaluation grid’ you will see that the main elements for a democratic instrument are mentioned first, agenda setting, debate, decision.
    Your objection of an ‘a priori’ alignment against a ‘disliked’ party is a possibility that can be avoided if the voting is at the same time (Jury and elected members). The problem there is that if voting of the elected members is adjourned the Jury vote is done. And the elected representatives can make it a game not to vote for all kind of reasons. That is avoided if the Jury is summoned only after the elected representatives have voted. But then your objection still stands.
    What will happen if the Jury votes first? The voting ‘instruction’ (suggestion) from the political parties to the elected representatives will not change I presume. In our political system voting happens in ‘party blocks’, individual rebellion against the party voting instruction is very exceptional (that is a political dead sentence). Maybe absenteeism will be less. Maybe if the vote of the Jury is known in advance the proposition is dropped and maybe amended and launched again later on. Then we have to summon a new Jury. All possibilities have for and against.
    In order to avoid ‘political games’ I think that ‘Jury votes after the elected representatives’ is the best option. If the Jury is descriptive representative it has all the characteristics of common people, aversion against some political parties included (or being in favour). And the claim is that ‘informed people’ have a better chance to make a good decision, well the results of the vote of the elected representatives (and the parties involved) is an information. The key question is: when becomes ‘information’ ‘manipulation’?

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  13. Interesting read, Paul. Quite some differences to our GILT protocol in Austria:

    1. Agenda setting: GILT does this prior to elections, through a descriptive citizen parliament. Members get a book of best practice opinion research of citizen satisfaction levels for each govt’ dept, including qualitative reasons. This research is done with an representative panel of n=1000 and an “open” cohort for everybody.

    2. Voting: Our citizen parliaments votes before GILT reps must vote in parliament. The idea is that the force of the General Will so determined (GILT reps can draw on their full results: pros & cons, impact forecasts, and cross-tabbed voting results) will look much stronger versus party reps voting their respective party particular interest.

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  14. We keep on pushing :-)

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  15. How do you see your chances and how long will it take to get yours realised?

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  16. >hubertus: How do you see your chances and how long will it take to get yours realised?

    none, here in Belgium within a reasonable time, but this was not the only aim. There are a lot of proposals launched using sortition who have, in my view, not in any way any democratic value. On the contrary, they have the risk to damage the interesting (democratic) instrument of sortition. Politicians will do anything they can to gain time before they give up some power, if at all. I am defending also the ‘Demoex’ idea (and Gilt and similar ideas) but I have to make a choice to what I devote my time. We had a website when we thought about such an initiative http://www.e2d-i.net/ but it is not updated and some links are not accessible any more.

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  17. Yes, lots of interesting approaches out there, and it increases the chances that one “sortition entreprener” actually gets his flavour implemented. Let’s all learn from each other.

    BTW: I admire Demoex for their pioneering work but is not the model to follow. Their method was flawed which set them up for ultimate demise. Why? They voted their seats proportionally to the percentage vote result within their own Demoex bubble. Lessons to learn:

    #1. We must determine the one single General Will of the citizenry. Demoex’s position was tantamount to a schizophrenic person who cannot decide what it wants. Therefore, GILT adopts the outcome of the citizen parliament.

    #2. A true General Will can only emerge from truly generalised mini-public, not from the followers of a party. We recruit citizen parliament participants (by sortition) and executive candidates (by venetian elections) from the entire citizenry, even if they do not vote for GILT.

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  18. The second document, in fact the first document of the ‘dossier’ at https://independent.academia.edu/PNollen/Sortition-for-a-real-citizens’-representation :

    Abstract:
    This document emphasize the importance, not only that sortition is used, but HOW it is used and implemented.

    Dossier ‘Sortition in politics and society’.

    Although sortition has been operative in politics since 486 BC in the Ancient Athens, sortition in Belgium primarily attracted more attention due to the G1000 (*1). All over the world, the sortition system in politics and in society in general has already been working on its return for a while, and both functioning and experimental panels are being set up (*2). As a consequence, an extensive amount of international literature is available.
    The Commission of the State of Washington DC which is responsible for the determination of the salaries of the elected representatives, is an example of a functioning panel which has already been operative for decades. The panel is partially composed by sortition and it was put into operation due to a referendum in 1986 (*3).
    A couple of years after Belgium’s emergence as a nation (1830), sortition was applied to recruit soldiers for military service. This practice remains well known in Belgium due to the novel ‘The Conscript’ by Hendrik Conscience (1850). More recently, the novel has been turned into a movie and it has been translated into English.
    Another practice, which is still operative, is the Jury at the Court of Assize that is appointed by sortition from the list of candidates (*4). This juridical practice is still widely in use in Anglo-Saxon countries.

    Application:

    The few examples in the introduction demonstrate that it’s not only the use of sortition in the selection procedure for the appointment is important, but also its design and mode of operation.
    The principle of unprejudiced and non-discriminating appointment by sortition in the Belgian recruitment system for military service (1833) was nullified due to the possibility of ransoming the recruitment. As a consequence, only poor people served in the army as soldiers.
    The results of the Commission in Washington ($45,474/year) are to such a degree deviant from the results in the states where the salaries of the elected representatives are approved by referendum, more particularly Arizona ($ 24,000/year) and Nebraska ($12,000/year), that questions about the operation of a panel composed of only a few citizens and experts appointed by sortition (mixed panel) are justified. As a result of this way of operation, manipulation and influence are obvious, the panel is far removed from any descriptive representativeness (image of society) and it doesn’t meet any other criteria concerning the use of sortition in politics or society.
    The application in the juridical system is motivated entirely different and meets different criteria (*5).

    Conclusion:

    The sortition system in politics must meet the criteria that depend on its application. The participation ladder of Arnstein is presented as a benchmark with a turning point at ‘the legislative decision-making power’ of the citizen on levels 6,7 and 8 (*6). With respect to the latter-mentioned levels, only strict criteria are acceptable. The further one descends into the levels, less tight criteria may be applied that permit more complex, ‘scientifically developed’ applications.
    Care should be taken to avoid that a democratic instrument such as sortition does not turn into the exclusive work area of specialized institutions and companies of which neither independence nor operation, and hence also the results, can be assessed (*7).

    References:

    (*1) – G1000 Belgium (2012) https://participedia.net/en/cases/g1000-belgium

    (*2) – Sortition in politics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition

    (*3) – https://salaries.wa.gov/about-us/how-and-why-commission-was-created (1987) The purpose for creating the Commission was to establish salaries that reflect the duties of the state’s elected officials and to remove political considerations from the process.

    (*4) https://www.rechtbanken-tribunaux.be/nl/rechtbanken-hoven/hof-van-assisen/personen/gezworene-jury

    (*5) Blind Break, Invisible hand and wisdom of crowds / https://www.academia.edu/8295259/The_Blind_Break_The_Invisible_Hand_and_the_Wisdom_of_Crowds_The_Political_Potential_of_Sortition

    https://equalitybylot.com/2018/11/13/the-justice-initiative-appointing-the-federal-judges-by-sortition/ Keith Sutherland

    The principal difference between a criminal and legislative jury is that the former is charged with establishing the facts of the matter, whereas the latter has to register its informed preference. Unanimity is ideal in the former case (primarily to reduce the risk of wrong convictions) whereas the legislative jury only has to reflect the preferences of the target population, so a simple majority will suffice (subject to a pre-specified margin of error). Statistical representation is essential for the latter (hence a size of several hundred), whereas the criminal jury simply needs to be independent from both the judicial apparatus and the defendant’s particular interests. It should be made as hard as possible for either party to select jurors so, unlike with the legislative jury, it’s more a case of the blind break (but the principle of trial by a jury of one’s peers does also suggest that the principle of descriptive representation also applies, as does the American principle of peremptory challenge).

    (*6) participation ladder of Arnstein or, for a more detailed definition, the ‘participation cube of Archon Fung’ http://www.archonfung.net/papers/fungvarietiesofpart.pdf (ladder of Arnstein see p8).

    (*7) see: Notions and applications of sortition in the representation of people.
    You can find our proposals in Dutch, French, English and German on https://independent.academia.edu/PNollen

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  19. Paul: I have a different idea for cleansing the Citizen Jury of partisanship: get rid of the elected assembly entirely. In its place, political parties would compete for the right to propose legislation, but would have no ability to determine what passes; that would belong to the Citizen Jury exclusively. Elected legislatures all end in a food fight anyway.

    I have a blog post about it here: https://alexkovner.com/2019/03/15/the-political-class-is-useful-for-something/. My idea is a more radical, to be sure, but I am curious what you think of it.

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  20. Alex,

    Very interesting blog post. I agree with your distinction between policy proposal (by elected body) and disposal (by allotted jurga), although I hadn’t thought it through in such detail. It’s interesting to note that Madison was aware that leaving both functions in the hands of a “single body of men” would corrupt the process (see my SSJ article The Two Sides of the Representative Coin), but he didn’t come up with any solutions. It’s also ironic that the mistake of both the founding fathers and (most) sortitionists is to focus on persons rather than corporate bodies (in the sense of Burke and Hegel).

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  21. >Alex K.: political parties would compete for the right to propose legislation, but would have no ability to determine what passes; that would belong to the Citizen Jury exclusively.

    I largely agree. More specifically, I have long advocated (since the late 90s in published form) that no law be allowed to go into effect without the informed consent of a randomly sampled jury large enough to be a good stand-in for the people as a whole (say at least 800 jurors), using majority vote after a fair hearing with supporters and opponents of the proposed law being given equal time to present their respective cases.

    (I also think it fine for smaller juries of say 100 citizens to have the power to pass proposed laws if there is a super-majority of the jurors in favour, say at least 75% of them. The point of a super-majority requirement being to compensate for a smaller sample of 100 being a less statistically reliable sample of the people than one of 800.)

    I support a separation of powers between those who formulate and put forward proposed laws, and the legislative juries that decide laws. (Paul, I think you may agree with this.)

    I would prefer that politicians be chosen by jury rather than by popular election. Whichever way they are chosen, they should not in my view be able to pass laws, but rather only be able to propose them to juries.

    Paul, I think it would be better to give citizens two votes. One vote to decide whether laws will require the informed consent of a randomly sampled jury to go into effect, and a second vote to choose a legislator/politician. And ideally also a third vote, on whether to give minorities of elected politicians the power to propose laws directly to juries for a decision when they cannot get the majority support of their colleagues in the legislature (the chamber of professional politicians, whether chosen by popular election or by jury). As part of the third vote, voters can put down the percentage of the legislature they think should be required to propose a law directly to a jury for a decision, with the median percentage being the one that goes into effect.

    Paul, I think it undemocratic for those voting for juries to be disenfranchised with respect to voting for a political party or a political candidate, and for those voting for parties/candidates to be disenfranchised with respect to deciding how much say randomly sampled juries will have (which is in effect part of your proposal if I understand it correctly).

    Paul, I also think your proposal stacks the deck against sortition because a political party is likely to represent the views of many citizens better than a random sample of their fellow citizens, and therefore though they may want juries to play a significant role they may still vote for a party or candidate instead of juries. I also think it undemocratic not to give voters the option to make laws subject to the informed consent of the people (through juries), and to instead only give voters the option to vote for a portion of the votes on legislation going to juries.

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  22. >Simon: Paul, I think it undemocratic for those voting for juries to be disenfranchised with respect to voting for a political party or a political candidate, and for those voting for parties/candidates to be disenfranchised with respect to deciding how much say randomly sampled juries will have (which is in effect part of your proposal if I understand it correctly).

    -The idea for our proposal was rooted in the fact that in the actual situation we have to form a political party and take part in elections. We then have to install ‘citizens Juries’ (or forums,..) in order to work with some kind of imperative mandate for the elected.
    In our proposal the political party is replaced by the ‘citizens Jury’.

    Paul, I also think your proposal stacks the deck against sortition because a political party is likely to represent the views of many citizens better than a random sample of their fellow citizens, and therefore though they may want juries to play a significant role they may still vote for a party or candidate instead of juries. I also think it undemocratic not to give voters the option to make laws subject to the informed consent of the people (through juries), and to instead only give voters the option to vote for a portion of the votes on legislation going to juries.

    – That political parties represents the views of citizens better than a descriptive panel appointed by sortition is point of discussion I think. If citizens themselves determine the amount of power for the jury the ‘legitimacy’ issue is also solved (Dimitri Courant – the 4 democratic elements of sortition: equality, impartiality, representativeness and legitimacy). What voter will do is at this moment a mystery. There is although a question I did not solved, how is the jury represented in the political campaign before elections?
    In our ‘proportional’ proposal we have the possibility that a jury proposes laws (the evaluation jury).

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  23. > Simon : I also think it fine for smaller juries of say 100 citizens to have the power to pass proposed laws if there is a super-majority of the jurors in favour, say at least 75% of them. The point of a super-majority requirement being to compensate for a smaller sample of 100 being a less statistically reliable sample of the people than one of 800.)

    That is the kind of statements that made us staring the study of sortition in politics. Why 15 citizens, 100 or 200 with simple random sampling and throw in a super majority or lets do some stratification and hand pick some minorities.
    Is this the ‘scientific sampling method’ we have to accept in democracy?
    I quote Fishkin on this (p288 Deliberative polling): Only random sampling assures everyone an equal probability of being chosen to participate. Only random sampling allows measurement of the degree of certainty associated with the sample estimates (estimated standard errors, margins of errors, confidence intervals, statistical significance , etc..)

    Even if participation is voluntary (we propose it is compulsory but nevertheless it can not be avoided that some people don’t want to participate) he investigates if his sample is ‘representative’ by comparing the participants with those who do not want to participate in order to insure that is sample is still representative (p 290 Deliberative polling).

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  24. @Paul: “Only random sampling assures everyone an equal probability of being chosen to participate.”

    I strongly disagree with Fishkin’s dogmatic assertion. Market research practitioners will tell you that achieving the true ideal of probability sampling is an utterly unachievable myth, even with unlimited effort and expense. It is self-evident that the solution is not making the impossible possible but rather using appropriate methods to minimise bias. For example, instead of using primitive frequentist methods we can add Bayesian methods to the citizen parliament procedure mix to compensate for bias.

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  25. Hubertus:> the true ideal of probability sampling is an utterly unachievable myth

    Sure, that’s why Fishkin does the necessary calculations (estimated standard errors, margins of errors, confidence intervals, statistical significance , etc..). And he’s right to insist that representativity is the paramount (democratic) consideration for a body that is taking decisions on behalf of everyone else. Doesn’t sound very dogmatic to me.

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  26. >Hubertus : ;-) I have to look up what ‘Bayesian methods’ mean. But for me there is a fundamental difference between defending a ‘mathematic system’, even it may be not perfect, and a ‘scientific manipulation’. And this in the ‘political domain’ where ‘power and money’ is the master component. We (citizens’) have to trust the ‘specialist’ performing the ‘scientific manipulations’.
    For me, if we have to defend sortition it has to be done with better arguments than ‘trust’. Even some kind of automatic ‘objective stratification’ (demographic, gender, geographic,..) is very difficult (in decades or something else?, these days we (here in Belgium) can alter our gender on our passport if we ‘feel’ like the other gender than we look like?, is it the geographic area where we have our official residence or is where we live ‘most’ of the time?,..) let alone ‘wealth, education level, part of a minority’, political affiliation,.. .
    Until now I did not found any good defence for such systems.
    How can we defend that democracy (or a democratic instrument) is in the hands of ‘specialists’? How to evaluate those ‘systems’, and if we can’t, how to evaluate the outcome of such systems?

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  27. >Hubertus: I took a look at ‘Bayesian methods’ (the mathematic details are far above my possibilities). It seams to me that this is more or less the same discussion as we have with multiple choice questions. We know that Condorcet- Schulze (to name one methode of multiple choice) can result in a ‘better outcome’ than a majority choice between two proposals. But the two proposals system has a far better defence because the outcome is supported by a ‘clear’ majority, and this way it is more robust in time, it is very easy to perform, to control and even to recount if necessary. Simplicity and robustness are the arguments in this case. Maybe these arguments are also useful in sortition.

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  28. @Keith: Error calculations, with an unavoidably unrepresentative sample, do not help to make it any more representative or as I prefer “right”. For example: on the eve of the Hamburg Olympia vote, opinion researchers published a poll prediction of 58% of 3000 people indicating +/-2% error, while the actual outcome was 48%.

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  29. Like

  30. >Paul: -The idea for our proposal was rooted in the fact that in the actual situation we have to form a political party and take part in elections. We then have to install ‘citizens Juries’ (or forums,..) in order to work with some kind of imperative mandate for the elected.
    In our proposal the political party is replaced by the ‘citizens Jury’.

    I think we, and also political parties, ought to advocate for the following basic democratic reform: That no law be allowed to go into effect without the informed consent of the people (through a large randomly sampled jury).

    >Paul: – That political parties represents the views of citizens better than a descriptive panel appointed by sortition is point of discussion I think. If citizens themselves determine the amount of power for the jury the ‘legitimacy’ issue is also solved

    I think it is undemocratic for political parties and politicians to decide laws, (and ditto for them to have say 70% of the votes to decide laws with randomly sampled juries having 30% of the votes to decide laws).

    With regard to it being undemocratic to give citizens only one vote which they can either use to vote for a party to represent them or for juries to represent them, let me put it this way. A citizen might prefer to be represented by a green party, social democracy party, conservative party and so on, rather than by a randomly sampled jury, but might also prefer that laws be decided by jury rather than by the elected politicians of political parties. For this reason it stacks the deck against sortition, and is undemocratic, for citizens to only be given the option of casting their one vote for either representation by a party or representation by juries, (with the say of juries being decided by the proportion of citizens who vote for representation by juries).

    A further lack of democracy in the mixed politician/juror voting proposal you outline is that those who vote for a political party get two kicks at the can, and those who vote jury get only one. Party voters get a vote for a political party which has some number of votes on deciding laws, and they also have the same chance as anyone else to be randomly sampled for a jury which gets some number of votes on deciding laws. Those who vote to be represented by jury only get one kick at the can to determine a law – the chance that they be randomly sampled to serve on a jury.

    The advocates of referenda so far as I know, never proposed that people be able to vote to be represented by a political party or by a referendum vote, with for example referendums counting for 20% of the votes on laws if 20% of those who voted in the election voted to be represented by referenda. We should not do the equivalent when it comes to the possibility of laws being decided by jury. Instead, we should follow the example of those who got the the ballot initiative and veto referendum into place. When there is an initiative vote or veto referendum vote the matter is decided by the popular vote (not by some portion of the popular vote and some portion of how the elected politicians vote). The jury analog of that is for laws to be decided by jury (not by some portion of the vote of a jury and some portion of the vote of elected politicians).

    If the power of juries to decide laws is to be decided by a popular vote, the question should be whether juries or elected politicians will decide laws, and if a majority vote for laws to be decided by jury, then I think laws should be decided by jury.

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  31. >Simon: “quote”: I think we, and also political parties, ought to advocate for the following basic democratic reform: That no law be allowed to go into effect without the informed consent of the people (through a large randomly sampled jury). “unquote”

    We had a somewhat different approach at this point : That no ‘important’ law be allowed to go into effect without the informed consent of the people (through a large randomly sampled jury).

    The ‘importance’ is decided by an ‘Agenda Jury’ who is continuously active (and rotating).
    This way the Legislative Jury is called only when a law is voted who is considered to be ‘important’ by another Jury. This not only reduces the workload and the number of Jury’s that has to be called but guarantees also that the issues to decide upon are significant. It also avoids that politicians starts to play games.

    “quote”: I think it is undemocratic for political parties and politicians to decide laws, (and ditto for them to have say 70% of the votes to decide laws with randomly sampled juries having 30% of the votes to decide laws). “unquote”

    That depends on the definition of ‘undemocratic’. In our view, when citizens can decide themselves about the distribution of legislative power, or exercise it themselves by means of an initiative for a referendum, we have a ‘democratic’ system. Furthermore our proposal has also other effects. For instance on absenteeism of the elected representatives. Also a small majority of the Jury seats can break a small majority of the elected seats. I think that it is possible that with the Jury system active the number of initiatives can drop significantly (it normally should).

    “quote”: A citizen might prefer to be represented by a green party, social democracy party, conservative party and so on, rather than by a randomly sampled jury, but might also prefer that laws be decided by jury rather than by the elected politicians of political parties. For this reason it stacks the deck against sortition, and is undemocratic, for citizens to only be given the option of casting their one vote for either representation by a party or representation by juries, (with the say of juries being decided by the proportion of citizens who vote for representation by juries). “unquote”

    That is why we provided the possibility of a ‘split vote’. A system that was in use here in Belgium some time ago. You have then several options but we provided only three:
    – you vote for a political party of your choice
    – you vote for the Jury appointed by sortition
    – you vote for a political party and for the Jury (both get half a vote)
    (or you don’t vote or vote blanc)

    “quote”: A further lack of democracy in the mixed politician/juror voting proposal you outline is that those who vote for a political party get two kicks at the can, and those who vote jury get only one. Party voters get a vote for a political party which has some number of votes on deciding laws, and they also have the same chance as anyone else to be randomly sampled for a jury which gets some number of votes on deciding laws. Those who vote to be represented by jury only get one kick at the can to determine a law – the chance that they be randomly sampled to serve on a jury.”unquote”

    This is a difficult one ;-). But both systems, the electoral and sortition system are ‘representative’ systems. The difference is that in the electoral system I am represented by ‘the best’ (electoral aristocratic) while in the sortition system I am represented by my ‘peers’. It is up to you, in our proposal, how you want to be ‘represented’. And indeed, all voters, be it for a party or a Jury, and the non voters (or blanc voters) have the same chance to be selected for the Jury system. I don’t think there is any preferential treatment in our proposal or that it is ‘undemocratic’ in any way. On the contrary.

    “quote”: The advocates of referenda so far as I know, never proposed that people be able to vote to be represented by a political party or by a referendum vote, with for example referendums counting for 20% of the votes on laws if 20% of those who voted in the election voted to be represented by referenda. We should not do the equivalent when it comes to the possibility of laws being decided by jury. Instead, we should follow the example of those who got the the ballot initiative and veto referendum into place. When there is an initiative vote or veto referendum vote the matter is decided by the popular vote (not by some portion of the popular vote and some portion of how the elected politicians vote). The jury analog of that is for laws to be decided by jury (not by some portion of the vote of a jury and some portion of the vote of elected politicians). “unquote”

    Our proposal is only a supplement to the ‘initiative and referendum’ system and a first step rather than a system to finish with. In this first step we propose only to replace the ‘democratic party’ (we are forced now to start up with all the problems of that kind of system, see the Demoex experience) by a Jury.

    Thanks for the extensive remarks. I hope I could make some points more clear.

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  32. Simon:> A citizen might prefer to be represented by a green party, social democracy party, conservative party and so on, rather than by a randomly sampled jury, but might also prefer that laws be decided by jury rather than by the elected politicians of political parties.

    Indeed, and it’s also the case that a citizen might want to be represented by a green party on environmental policy, a social democratic party on economic policy and a conservative party on social policy, while also believing that democratic majoritarianism requires that the final decision be taken by large, quasi-mandatory allotted jury (or jurga in Alex Kovner’s terminology). I think there is an emerging consensus that proposing (isegoria) and disposing (isonomia) — the two sides of the democratic diarchy — require different mechanisms to institute them. I’m persuaded by Alex’s proposals for the former and am beginning to accept the caveat that politicians should be elected by (another) jurga, rather than the entire population, but that may have to be stage two of the kleristocratic revolution. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The crucial thing is to accept the conceptual diarchy and ensure that the two foundational norms of democratic Athens do not become conflated.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. @keithsutherland, @Simon: I have added a new blog post (https://alexkovner.com/2019/04/03/politics-as-sport-the-npl-national-politics-league/) which addresses the selection of political parties in a new way. I am curious for any feedback.

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  34. Keith, I strongly agree with you that the deciding of laws by jury needs to be distinct and separate from the proposing of laws.

    This is and always has been been my position since in and before my first published article on jury lawmaking in 1998.

    I am in favour of political parties, professional politicians and public interest groups being among those who can propose laws to juries. I believe we agree on this too.

    I have long been in favour of public officials being chosen by jury rather than by popular election, in published form since the late 90s. And am also in favour of independent public officials (such as regulatory commissions, public broadcasting boards, and judges) being chosen by jury rather than by politicians, (also in published form since the late 90s). I’m glad some of those who post on this blog are now sharing, or starting to share, this view on the selection of public officials.

    The separation between deciding laws and proposing laws is analogous to the jury trial. In a jury trial the jury that decides the verdict is distinct and separate from the prosecutor or plaintiff who bring the case, and from the accused or defendant who presents the defence (whether in person or through their lawyer).

    It is also analogous to the veto referendum in which the proposers of the law (the politicians who hold power) are distinct from those who decide the law (the electorate). And also to the the ballot initiative in which the proposers of the law (such as a public interest group) are distinct from those who decide it (the electorate). (Yes the politicians that propose laws that are subject to a veto referendum, and the citizens that propose laws decided in an initiative vote, may also vote on those laws in the referendum or initiative popular vote, but they are only a tiny tiny portion of the electorate, and are distinct from the electorate in the lawmaking process.)

    Those who think of sortition as simply changing the method of selection for the existing legislatures (from popular election to sortition) are naturally inclined to think of the same body of jurors as both proposing laws and deciding them, (and perhaps also debating them and advocating for and against them), because that is what elected legislators do in the existing legislatures. This approach to thinking about sortition is seriously mistaken in my view, and clearly Keith, also in your view.

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  35. Simon:> Those who think of sortition as simply changing the method of selection for the existing legislatures (from popular election to sortition) are . . . seriously mistaken

    Agree 100%. The two concepts of representation (active and descriptive) are fundamentally different and require different institutions. The notion of an “allotted parliament” is both incoherent and undemocratic.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Alex, I love the principle involved, would like to hear from a statistician like Conall on the mathematics involved. Yoram does similar work to you, so would be good to hear what he thinks, although he would need to bracket out his antipathy to the electoral principle.

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  37. 1. How is Jurga different from Hayek’s Demarchy (“Political Order of a Free People”, p.32, pp.38-40) or its more elaborate version described by John Burnheim in “Is Democracy Possible?”
    2. We can and must avoid the superfluous middlemen of political parties as they introduce an authoritarian element. They distort the individual value judgements in society. Already Rousseau warns lucidly against them in the “Social Contract”. Tetlock shows empirical evidence in “Superforecasting” that ideological followers (i.e. second hand intellectuals) are consistently wrong in their predictions.
    3. Rather, for a start, we can have a (new) party introduce demarchic committees as a final decision bodies for new laws. At this initial stage it demonstratest to the public how it works and what its judgements are, even if not yet legally binding, although with increasing moral power as such a demarchic party increases its vote share. In a second step, we need a constitutional amendment to require all laws and key administrative decisions to pass a final demarchic approval step, thus stripping party “representatives” of their final decision power.
    4. In future, a new type of political party can emerge, rather than those of today who work with dirty campaigning to produce mindless belligerent voting cattle. this new type of party would represent the importance of a specific political issue, analyse it and work on solutions, like political entrepreneurs. Higher votes would shift more resources to them.

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  38. Hubertus,

    I’m not a Hayek scholar but I doubt if there is much overlap — certainly not with John Burnheim’s proposal. Will leave it to Alex to respond regarding the other points.

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  39. Love this passage from Alex Kovner’s first blog post:

    First, the etymology of the term: I took the Afghan idea of a jirga–a body of tribal leaders assembled to make decisions–and mixed it with the common law notion of a jury, a panel of citizens used to pass judgment in criminal proceedings.

    https://alexkovner.com/2019/03/11/where-does-sovereignty-come-from/

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