Category Archives: FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Why not have all citizens vote for or against legislation? Online for instance?

Even if everyone had internet access or some other way to register their opinion, there are several problems with everyone voting on everything. Most people do not have time or interest to properly deliberate about complex social issues. Plebiscites, referenda … Continue reading

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Would it take a constitutional amendment to change the selection process of Congress from balloting to sortition?

The First Article, Section Four, of the US Constitution says: The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof That seems clear a state can choose whatever … Continue reading

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What are some reasons against sortitional selection of decision-making bodies?

These issues have been raised: Fear of incompetence Loss of institutional memory Tyranny of the majority Lack of accountability The seeming end of constituencies Potential for corruption No coherent programs or platforms Our responses to these are as follows: Agreed, … Continue reading

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What drives you to advocate for this? What personal interests in it do you have?

There are three separate but related impulses that drive me to push for a Citizen Legislature. First is simply to engender more thought about what a ‘representative democracy’ is supposed to be. I thought it meant that the government was … Continue reading

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What is the first major obstacle to realizing sortitionally-chosen proportional representation?

Remembering what Mohandas Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”Those who have most to lose from an equitable and legitimate decision-making process will not want to consider fundamental change. … Continue reading

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Why .com and not .org?

I have worked or volunteered most of my life in the non-profit or non-governmental sector — from public television to Peace Corps to soup kitchen to National Forest to community organizing to unarmed protection of civilians. I’ve never been a … Continue reading

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What can you do to realize this next step for democracy?

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 … Continue reading

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What are the downsides of electoral balloting?

First of all, of course the ballot is preferred to the bullet. The ballot however requires a certain type of person to put him- or herself up for candidacy. Such a person is necessarily of a particular psychological profile. That … Continue reading

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Should sortitional selection be used for the executive and judicial branches also?

No, definitely not. The executive and judicial branches must be chosen meritocratically, based on skills. The executive is charged to carry out the will expressed by the legislature and therefore requires management expertise.Similarly, judicial appointments require extensive training in the … Continue reading

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How would sortition work to choose legislative representatives?

“The Common Lot: Next Step for Democracy” advocates that sortition (random selection) be used to select among qualified citizens who are willing to serve in the legislature. In order to be entered into the pool for random selection a citizen … Continue reading

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