Frequently Asked Questions - examples


Sortitional selection was a central and defining feature of the first Athenian democracy. It was used to select both legislative and administrative functions. There were also a small number of meritocratic elective offices, particularly for the military and the treasury.

Sortitional selection was also used in Florence and Venice in the late medieval period. The system was instituted in order to break the power of political factions. Sortition was also used during the French Revolution.

Sortition is also used by the Amish to choose their bishops.

Jury selection in U.S. courts is initially through sortition.

Sortition has been widely used in military drafts; in choosing recipients of organ transplants; in allotting places for children in magnet or charter schools; in dispensing tickets to entertainment or sporting events.

A long list of examples can be found in Wikipedia's entry:

Attention to the sortitional selection of decision-making bodies is increasing through publications and online forums. You can join our efforts in this in several ways:

* Supporting Common Lot Productions. We sell DVDs and are available for presentations. We do not want to be a non-profit venture because we believe that the marketplace of ideas can provide. We are looking for financial advisors who can guide us to profitability.

* Engaging with us on media productions. We have a full-length, big budget, high concept comic screenplay about "the common lot". We do not have the capacity to take this forward. We welcome collaborators.

* Suggesting other promotional manifestations of sortition. The idea is highly malleable. We can imagine live performances, other media productions and gallery installations in a wide variety of venues, exploring the concept of randomness. Again, we welcome collaborators and opportunities to explore these options.

* Encouraging viral expansion through social networking. Become a member of our Facebook page "Common Lot Productions" and 'like' us to all your 'friends'.

* Experimenting with random selection in your lives, individually and corporately. Remember, though, that if your goal is proportional representation, statistical theory -- the Law of Large Numbers -- states that the greater the number in the selection pool, the closer proportional representation will be assured. And vice versa.

* Joining our Common Lot Productions 'think tank' by sending your ideas about how to make this a financially self-supporting endeavor as well as one that contributes to the larger movement of realizing The Next Step for Democracy. E-mail: