by Ted Wachtel Most people believe that voting is democracy, and that an election is the only way to choose office holders…but they are mistaken. The first democracy in ancient Athens chose only ten percent of their officials by election, selecting the rest by sortition—a lottery, which randomly selected citizens to serve as legislators, jurors, […]
We have the illusion that in an election, we are making thoughtful choices. But informed voting is an impossible dream for most of us, and likely self-delusional for those few of us who claim to be meaningfully informed.
by Brett Hennig Recently, inspired by my interview on NPR—“Should we replace politicians with randomly selected citizens?”—that aired on October 13, a listener, Zach Roberts, contacted me and sent me the great graphic below, comparing the demographics of the U.S. senate with what it would look like if the U.S. senate was populated by randomly […]
When Ted Wachtel, founder of Building a New Reality (BANR), first mentioned “sortition,” I thought he was referring to the magical hat in the Harry Potter novels and movies, used to sort Hogwarts students into their appropriate houses.
Turns out sortition is “the use of random selection to populate assemblies or fill political positions.” Or as my BANR colleague and Sortition Foundation co-founder and director, Brett Hennig, explained, “An assembly that uses sortition would be composed of people just like you and me. It would be a representative random sample of people, making decisions in an informed, fair, and deliberative setting.”
In case you haven’t noticed, our society is not functioning well. We all feel uncomfortable about it. Our greatest discomfort comes from our system of governance. Political governance isn’t working for us, because it causes eternal bickering and divisiveness.
The future of democracy – whether we live in Baltimore or Brussels – depends on citizen assemblies coming together, putting their differences aside, and working toward common sense solutions that benefit everyone. Without True Representation, we’ll continue to live in societies in which fear is allowed to place barbed-wire fences on our borders and in our hearts.