A step-by-step guide to implementing a Digital Democracy

Some people might say that considering the potential challenges, it’s somewhat impossible to switch to a digital democracy.  On top of the established powers that might oppose such changes, there’s  also other  important considerations one needs to take into account, such as economic stability and national security.Because of reasons like this , I would say one would need to start small. Implementing a digital democracy on a municipal level, rather than on a federal level, might be a lot easier to realise at first.  Plus it seems like a good  idea to try it on smaller scale  in order to work out any potential bugs in the system.

PART 1  Upgrading your gov-system on a municipal level

To start, one would have to create an organization, recruit some members and raise some funds. Afterwards, since most municipal governmental systems are regulated on a provincial/state level, one would have to verify with those authorities to see if their existing rules prevent the switch to a digital democracy on a municipal level. If any such hurdle exist, provincial/state representatives would have to be solicited until the rules are changed. Once you’re in the clear with them, the real work starts. You find an ideal municipality, you get your organization recognized as a municipal political party and then you run for mayor.  You run with the platform “Elect the last mayor that’ll take decisions for you” or something similar. Now, if enough councillors from your party got elected, as mayor you’ll be able  to push the reform thru that switches the existing system over to a digital democracy pretty easily. Ideally you also have enough budget to create a municipal government portal that local citizens can access with their smartphones and personal computers in order to truly participate in the process. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be that citizens have to vote on every single law project  and initiative. For the non-controversial stuff, like renewing the budget for garbage pick-up and such, well in cases like that you might have councillors/moderators that can take care of it. But when there’s a controversial issue that arises, like, let’s say, building a highway on a haunted indian graveyard, then the electorate can log on and decide the issue for themselves, with the councillors/moderators playing a role that’s more about moderating the debate than imposing their view.

One might say that this is unlikely to ever happen. But you never know. There’s small towns and villages out there, that are losing their population and are unable to find a mayor. A partnership  between a political organization and an ISP, could come in, hook everyone in town to hi-speed internet, and at the same time give them access to an online voting system.  And with what’s happening in a lot of small towns, I don’t think  it would be too hard to find one that’s willing to have all that influx of funds, technology and resources come  in into their borough. Once most of the bugs within the system have been worked out, one can then move ahead to try to apply what’s been learned to a higher level of government.

Part 2 Upgrading your gov-system on a provincial/state/federal level

This, I think, would be a lot trickier. The analogy that comes to mind for that one, is to view your government like it’s a sound system. There’s a dial for democracy on it, and it goes from zero to ten. Right now, I would say that most free countries have their “democracy-volume” set between 2.5 to 3.5, and obviously raising it at 10 all of a sudden could create quite a bit of a commotion. But if we raised it to 5 , which would be a government system peppered with a little more transparency and real-democracy, I don’t think there would necessarily be riots in the streets and economic collapse and such.

But yeah, since the stakes are higher on a provincial/state/federal level, one would be wise to proceed with baby steps. To start, you recruit members, register your organization as a political  party.For argument’s sake let’s call it the Technodemocrat party. And then you run for a seat. In the off-chance your party wins more seats and gains control of your government, then you won’t have a hard time pushing for a full digital-democracy reform. But in the most likely scenario, the one in wich you’re the only member of your party elected, you can still promote the digital democracy agenda by leading by example. It’s simply a question of holding a poll, survey or referendum in your district every time you’re asked to vote as an independant.Then you vote as your district wants you to vote. And in that sense, you would actually be living up to the term “representative”.

And ultimately, maybe we don’t need a full on  digital democracy, maybe if we’re lucky, maybe the threat of such a movement gaining a foothold, will be enough to scare the powers that be into increasing  the democracy-volume of our governments by 0.5 . Just enough for us to have a just little more transparency and representation for our money…

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2 responses to “A step-by-step guide to implementing a Digital Democracy

  1. I am glad you are working on this cause. Unfortunately in this world, the majority of people feel disconnected from the powerful elites running this country and feel powerless as individuals to do anything about it.

    Fifteen years ago I ran as an Independent Candidate for Parliament a 2nd Time. This was part of my 4 page tract:
    “The issue for me in this election is whether the people will find their job creating a True Democracy, or continue in a theory of democracy that is in reality, a plutocracy.

    Webster’s dictionary defines that as A class in a community that controls the government by it’s wealth. With your help and support, I would like to participate in reclaiming The House of Commons for the common people and the common good, first in Ottawa Centre, and later, The Commonwealth of Canada. No political party in this race will offer you that alternative.

    Not one party leader will talk to you about true democracy. The goal of democracy is a country where all the people feel empowered and integral to the function of the state. Today we have the technology to implement direct democracy. You have a bank card with a pin number. Every voter could have a personal voter number. That could be an incentive for ordinary people to take an interest in politics on a daily basis. If jobs are being eliminated, politician’s jobs should be on the table as well. In my view, a good political or religious leader should be speaking themselves out of a job of preeminence.”

    The rest of that campaign literature can be read here:
    http://ray032.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/elections/

  2. Ray, I’m all down with starting a political party/organization. I’ll support your campaign if you were to run again. The real challenge as you’ve explained, is in how to get people to interact and get involved. And considering that we live in the age of interactivity, I would say there’s no excuse not to try. It’ s just a question of finding the right slogan, soundbite, or graphic, that will grab the zeitgeist of popular interest. Once the general public realizes that there’s a new technological fruit available for them to taste, they won’t resist taking a bite…

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