Improved Democracy

State democracy is a form of socialism. As such I've got no desire for it. However, democracy as a decisionmaking process is useful in many organizations, for example corporations. And it is also important in the state, of course, whether I like it or not. It is impossible for me as an engineering mind to look at the current system and not think of ways to improve it. Here's a sketch of how I'd set up the democratic subsystem of a government.

The legislative branch is bicameral. The lower house (let's call if, "of Representatives", to make things easier on us with American civics knowledge) is the lawmaking body. The upper house (the "Senate") is the law abolishing body. Laws do not come into effect without being passed by both houses. The upper house, alone, can strike a law from the books, by sunsetting it (see below).

Citizens do not have to register to vote. Every citizen who has registered to vote has one vote in the lower house of the legislature. These votes can be proxied, to any other citizen, or to two special proxies: "no", and "abstain". All proxy assignments, of all citizens, are public information. As a convenience, a citizen's proxy is asked for on each election day, but can be changed at any time by a relatively simple procedure, akin to registering to vote. Proxies themselves may proxy, although they are not allowed to change their own proxy except as a part of an election.

Note that this makes, de facto, two classes of voters: "representatives" (who cannot change their proxy at will), and normal citizens (who can). (Unregistered citizens are a third class.) A representative who wishes to change his proxy without an election should be allowed to do this, but only by giving up his representative status (until the next election). All citizens who were formerly proxying to him should be notified of what happened, and they should have their proxy reassigned to his (old) proxy.

Actual legislation can be voted on electronically, if the technology is present. In that case, there is no need to exclude any voter, although for convenience it may be worthwhile to forbid individual voters. In a lower-tech setting, a physical meeting would be necessary. In this case, only the top 100 representatives (by votes proxied) should be allowed to vote.

There are two kinds of legislation that the House may create. "Writs of Abolition" are proposals which only remove existing laws, they cannot also create any new law or change any existing law. All other proposed legislation is called a "bill". To pass legislation of either kind, 50% of the non-abstaining registered voters must vote for it. The "no" proxy is counted as voting for all Writs of Abolition, and against all bills. The "abstain" proxy always abstains. Representatives vote as they like. A proxy votes with the weight of all citizens who he/she/it is proxying for, who are not currently present and voting.

The upper house ("senate") also is a proxy-based voting system. However in this case, the proxy link is secret, not public. Each election, each voter may vote for a single proxy by a secret ballot. The top 100 vote-getters will be the new Senate. Again, note that proxying means that unsuccessful candidates (those not in the top 100) will have any votes they get proxied to their assigned proxy; this is done as part of the election. Once the election is completed, all proxying to Senators is fixed until the next election.

The senate does not have a lot to do. It has only three powers:
  1. to vote to affirm a bill that has already passed the House
  2. to vote to affirm a writ of abolition that has already passed the House
  3. to vote to change the sunset provision in any existing law.
All laws have a subset provision in, that is, a date at which they cease to be in effect. (Note that the House may assign a sunset to a bill if it wants to, but this is largely cosmetic because the Senate can always change the sunset.)

When a bill comes to the Senate, it must vote to affirm that bill before it can become law. If the Senate does not vote on a bill, it automatically is removed from consideration as possible law at the next election day. (After the election the House may always re-pass the bill to replace it into consideration.) The only change the Senate can make to a bill is to add a sunset provision to it. And it must do this (unless the House did), because for the Senate to pass legislation, it must be sunsetted. The earliest allowed sunset is 90 days after the next election day. The longest allowed sunset is 10 years.

Any existing law may have its sunset provision changed by the Senate. The same limits to possible sunsets apply: the earliest allowed sunset is 90 days after the next election day. The longest allowed sunset is 10 years.

Finally, when a Writ of Abolition comes to the Senate, it may vote to pass it. If it passes, the change in the law takes place immediately. Thus laws may be immediately abolished only with the consent of both houses.

In all three cases, simple majority vote (of proxied citizens) passes the law/sunset/writ.

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