I have been disturbed by the corruption of the American political
process. Some of the problems include:
All democracies have these or similar problems. My solution is proxy voting on every
- Politicians are highly susceptible to influence by the wealthy because they need
huge amounts of money to get reelected.
- Candidates can campaign on one platform then vote the opposite way.
- Votes in different parts of the country to do not count equally.
- The electoral college does not necessarily reflect the democratic vote.
How It Works
Potentially every citizen has the right to vote on every bill. This
is managed electronically over the Internet using a digital signature system to prevent
fraud. The votes are counted by several totally independent teams. Basically anyone who
wants to put up the money to tabulate votes can become a scrutineer.
Of course most people have not the time or interest to vote on every bill. They have
You always have the right to override your normal proxy vote, to revoke that proxy
at any time, not just at election time, or to reassign your proxy for any interest area.
- Turn their vote over to a friend to vote for them in that area.
- Turn their vote over to an organisation to vote for them in that area.
- Turn their vote over to a pundit to vote for them in that area.
- Turn their vote over to a politician (elected on unelected) to vote for them in
- Turn their vote over to a political party to vote for them in that area.
- Abstain from voting on such issues.
- Your votes are cast pretty much as you would cast them had you to the time to study
all the bills.
- You are not stuck with a dishonest representative. You can fire him at any time.
- You don’t have to stay on top of everything to have your influence felt
everywhere you feel is important.
- The people in general are more or less in charge. There is no one in particular you
can blame when things go wrong.
- Those who have the power now, who rule by bamboozlement and deception, will not
like such a scheme. They want a scheme with only a few corruptible people charge.
- It becomes technically difficult to simultaneously provide both anonymity and fraud
- There will be extreme temptation to corrupt the system. Since it relies on
electronics, it is easier to hide fraud.
- Politicians could still sneak through unpopular line items in omnibus bills. Proxy
voting should give those interested, or indirectly interested, the right to vote item
by item on any bill if they choose. Electronics make this all feasible for the first
In a way we are using proxy voting already. Polls that direct
politicians are a statistical sampling proxy vote. They are different in that people
don’t vote on bills, but rather carefully worded questions designed to elicit the
correct answer. They are also different in that they are not
Technology makes it possible to hold electronic referenda much more cheaply than full
elections. Those without understanding of the technology can still participate via proxy
voting. It also creates a grass roots democracy, of representatives of perhaps only dozen
people in some area of expertise. This decentralising should go a long way toward
breaking up the corruption of our current representative governments.
You phase this in gradually, giving say 10% of the votes on
a bill to the proxy system and gradually up the percentage once we find out how it works
in practice. This has a similar democratisation to the proportional representation,
without bringing disruptive elements into government.