Sortition in the press

Some recent media items mentioning sortition:

Jack Hunter, a research fellow at think tank IPPR North, writes in PSE proposes to use the Northern Powerhouse to encourage greater social purpose among businesses in the region by having investment directed by an allotted citizen panel.

The Northern Powerhouse was created in Whitehall, but is increasingly something owned and championed by the north’s leaders. Because of this, there is also the opportunity to leverage the strength of the north’s history and culture, to develop a more civic role for businesses.

In a recent report, IPPR North set out how to make this happen. One idea we have put forward is the creation of a Northern Powerhouse Community Fund. We suggested that a pan-northern charitable fund should be set up, funded through a voluntary contribution of 1% of profits from northern businesses in order to help to fund voluntary and community activity in the region. Decisions about investment would be made by a panel of northern citizens, chosen by sortition.

Such a fund would give firms across the north a new opportunity to put their money where their mouth is. At the same time, it could be an opportunity to give people in the north a greater say in where money in their region goes.

Allotted citizen panels are part of Extinction Rebellion’s call to action:

We are calling on government and media are to hold Citizens Assemblies with decision making power in order to revitalise our democracy. For these Citizens Assemblies, individuals would be selected by sortition, a process ensuring a random selection from representative sections of the population, with up to 1000 participants. They would be trained for a weekend a month for a year, and listen to panels of experts relevant to the questions they are going to decide upon. Their time would be paid for, as they are doing serious work.

Swiss town tests citizen panel to help voters analyse information:

The municipality of Sion in southwestern Switzerland is planning a participative democracy experiment, first tried out in the US state of Oregon, that places randomly selected locals on a citizen panel in the lead up to national referendums.

Various inhabitants of the canton Valais municipality will be asked to form a citizen panel that will prepare a report on one of the issues to be put to vote next February 9. The group discussions are to take place this November and will last four days.

A modest proposal to prevent meddling in our elections:

I have a modest proposal for a sure-fire, 100-percent certain way of keeping Putin or anyone else from meddling in American elections. Get rid of elections. A lot of Americans think that the only way a country can have a functioning democracy is for the people to elect their leaders every few years. But there is another way. It’s called “sortition.” Or more plainly, selection by lot.

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