If elected, I will introduce a system of digital democracy in Dublin Fingal. This means that any of my policies may be overturned by you, the voters.
This strategy has two prongs of implementation. The first is my ongoing project called ‘Fuller Democracy’, an online decision-making process that I run for one month every year. Fuller Democracy asks people to debate and decide on what my policies should be. In fact, much of the policy that you will see on this webpage is the result of the outcomes from previous iterations of Fuller Democracy. If you haven’t signed up now to have your say, you can do so here.
Once elected, I will also put forward measures that are up for decision in the Dáil on my webpage for people to decide on, as these may be somewhat more specific or differ in detail from the policies decided on under Fuller Democracy.
So, why do this?
Well, as one of the world’s leading experts in mass participation and digital decision-making, I feel that I am ideally placed to implement digital democracy here in Ireland, and there are many reasons why we need it.
When electoral politics were revived in the 1700s there were simply no other options for people to hold large meetings over vast territories other than to physically attend a gathering at a pre-agreed time. So, if you wanted to live in a large State, you had to have representatives, and elections were as good a way of choosing them as any. However, elections come with a lot of problems attached: they don’t happen very often; they inevitably lead to corruption, because politicians need to solicit donations in order to get elected; they tell us very little about what policies people want; they lead to polarization and unnecessary antagonism between parties; and they aren’t even accurate.
Despite all of the disadvantages of elections, for quite a long while we were stuck with them. Since the advent of the internet that has changed. It is now possible to do just about everything online, including debating and voting. In fact, voters in Estonia and Switzerland already regularly cast their ballots online in elections and referenda.
There are many reasons why mass online voting is superior to traditional representative decision-making:
- It’s fair – everyone gets one vote (elections actually don’t achieve this, as they are statistically skewed)
- It gets issues on the agenda that normally don’t make it onto party programmes
- It allows citizens to communicate with each other about what is important to them and to share their information with each other
- It makes it more likely that the policies that are decided on will be successfully implemented, because they enjoy a greater level of legitimacy
- It makes it more likely that policies will be successful because they are based on crowdsourcing knowledge from the entire community instead of just a select few
- It prevents politicians from saying one thing and doing another
- It makes decision-making transparent and therefore prevents corruption
- It is flexible – it can be used for local, national or European level decisions, and for anything in between
- It is secure, thanks to blockchain and hashing
We’ve been having a lot of fun with Fuller Democracy, and we know that people with similar initiatives from Iceland to New Zealand have been having similar successes with this new form of decision-making. I believe that digital democracy is not just a sensible policy, but that it is inevitable adaptation if we want to continue to enjoy prosperity and freedom into the future.