When I was in high school in the late 60s, I wrote a paper called Administrative Democracy. It formulated the premise that citizens should vote directly on proposed law with the purpose of Congress being to draft legislation, not vote it into law. I recommended kiosks where citizens would stop on their way to or from work to vote. Now I am thinking of a name more along the line of Direct Voting Republic or just Direct Republic.
Remember the only computers in widespread use at this time were mainframes. This was before widespread use of mini-computers and long before personal computers. With such devices and the Internet, I believe this proposal has become practical. Of course, kiosk-type access would still be necessary as not everyone has access to a computer or the Internet. However, many do and could take care of business on-line.
In my original proposal, I proposed the laws be written and then one paragraph descriptions for and against be drafted for voters to consider when they voted. We would need to decide how often to vote. Maybe every Tuesday. We would also need to decide how long a law went through public debate before voting. Perhaps there could be a normal track, a fast track, and an emergency track.
Note, also there would be no more executive veto. That is not necessary in such a purer democracy.
The Constitution would still be in force so that laws would still be held to judicial review. We would need to fold the amendment process into this system as well with appropriate two-thirds and/or three-fourths requirements.
We would need to develop rules for Congress. Maybe 10% of members of either house could initiate action on a law. Maybe all members who voted in the action initiating group would be allowed to participate in the drafting of the law consulting other members as appropriate. When the law is drafted, of course, there would be room for debate in Congress. Maybe the law goes to a vote of the people based on a vote of 25% or more of both houses. Maybe any group of 25% or more is allowed to draft a paragraph, for or against, which would appear on the ballot. Maybe a majority vote of those paragraph writers are needed to report the paragraph out. Of course, on the normal track, there would be a deadline for that.
Anyway, we would need to draft appropriate rules for Congress.
Well, that is all I can think of right now. When should we get started?
Copyright © 2008 Richard L. Mitchell