Davis: Follow The Sortition Money

Iain Davis is an anti-establishment blogger. He has recently posted a fairly lengthy article with his views on sortition. He is supportive of the idea in principle, but suspicious of the “sortition movement”. Here are some excerpts from the article:

For it’s staunchest proponents, sortition would create assemblies empowered to make binding decision or set policy. A potential new form of government to augment and eventually replace what they see as a failing party political, parliamentary democratic system. [However, t]he form of sortition proposed will not give the people a stronger voice. It will, in fact, deliver the precise opposite.

I am sure the vast majority of those calling for sortition have the best of intentions. Yet, like most mass movements that suddenly spring from nowhere, such as Extinction Rebellion, there are powerful influences guiding them. Always striving to protect and maintain their power, by exploiting the good will of ordinary people, and always at the expense of the citizen for the benefit of the corporation.

We should be careful to avoid rejection of sortition outright. It is not the principle, but rather its current suggested implementation that is problematic. The random selection of a jury by lot, to deliberate on the operation of the Rule of Law, with the power to annul, is a form of sortition that would actually work. It would empower the people, providing both oversight of the political establishment and limit the nefarious influence of the corporate lobby who determine the policies of the political parties.

This is in stark contrast to the offer of sortition currently planned.

Davis argues that the fact that the actors in the “sortition movement” address their proposals to established powerful interests, and that those interests find favor in those proposals is proof that the proposals on the table are not really about changing the power structure.

In addition to this basic general argument, Davis makes various more specific points.

Corporate ties. Davis points out that a powerful backer of the sortition movement is the Belgiorno-Nettis Foundation, which is based on the Belgiorno-Nettis fortune. Davis deduces: “Quite simply, financial gain appears to be the motivation for their advocacy of sortition. At least, that strong possibility can’t be ruled out.” He points out other sortition advocacy organizations are backed by various corporate sponsors as well. “If the claimed purpose is to give more power to the people, this whole sortition thing is starting to look like an oxymoron.”
Continue reading

Electoral redistricting by an allotted citizens commission in Michigan

The Monroe News from Michigan reports:

Applicants sought for Michigan redistricting panel

The Secretary of State’s office recently sent 250,000 randomly selected Michigan voters applications to serve on the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The 13-member commission will be responsible for drawing the boundaries for the state’s Senate and House of Representatives districts. It also will design the districts for the congressional delegation.

The commission is being formed as a result of the passage of Proposal 2 in November 2018. The ballot measure amended the state constitution to grant the authority to an independent citizen commission, taking the power away from the state’s governor and the Legislature.

Proposal 2 passed statewide 2,522,355- 1,593,556.

The commission will be composed of four Democrats, four Republicans and five voters who do not identify with either party. Districts are redrawn every 10 years in response to the U. S. Census, which will be conducted this year.

Per the proposal, the secretary of state’s office is required to mail out the applications to at least 10,000 randomly selected voters. Troy-based Rehmann LLC handled the selection process.

Residents within the state who weren’t part of the random mailing also may apply for the commission.