Government as volunteers implementing digitally voted for policies

One notion that I would love to see for Civic Technology, is the following:

1. The current voting system is predicated on the cost of voting — an election being held every 4 years, or certain rare policies going to the ballot all seem tied to the extreme expense of voting (in all areas that voting inconveniences the population)

2. Digital voting, like most things digital, can reduce the cost of voting to near naught. Meaning that voting can occur far more often with more ease. Meaning the population can now vote for more policies, with quicker feedback, quicker results, and faster adaptation.

3. This could create a government that is a collection of volunteers, whose job is to enact the list of evergreen policies that reflect the current societies votes on each issue.

4. Campaigning instead becomes about policies, which the public votes for or against, and can change their vote whenever they want.

5. To ensure that policies have the chance to be useful before campaigns destroy them, each policy has a term. So if a policy moves from majority support to minority support, or the other way round, the policy still continues for its term, and if still in minority support at the end of the term, it is not renewed. This immediate feedback during the term allows the volunteers implementing the policy to react to public opinion and do any fixes that are necessary.

6. As not everyone will have the time to research every issue. Thanks to digital voting, people could delegate their votes for particular things to another person, and then vote on only the things they care about. Delegates could also do this. This would accomplish the role of parties and representatives but to a better degree.

This doesn’t have to be implemented all together, instead with each succession of digital voting, the convenience and benefits will win out economically against the traditional way. For instance, if we implement digital voting for the next election, the economic arguments will stand, and then next election the implementation will be greater, and then politicians realise as the societal costs are less they start using it more for policy opinions, etc etc. So I believe this is the end goal we are all aiming for, just articulated.

It also raises super interesting questions in terms of how society will divide itself if we can now be as naunced as we like with our political factions and divides, as those categorisations would in voting applications fall away, but probably still persist in social applications. How would competiting policies play a role? Could competiting policies both be impemented at the same time — would that be a policy in of itself? How would mandated voting like Australia has, play a role?

What do you think?


The progression approach is a rather recent addition to this notion, which I can thank a recent discussion with Dominic Tarr for.

The delegation approach is another recent addition, which I can thank Adem Ingham for.

For a political party working to accomplish this aim, see Vote Flux.