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Online Poll-Based Party Seeks Election Win 117

Posted by samzenpus
from the vote-and-vote-often dept.
schliz writes "Online poll-based political party Senator Online is looking for senate candidates to contest the next Australian Federal Election. The party does not have any policies or an official stance, and promises to conduct online votes on major issues and act in Parliament accordingly. It has already appointed its candidate for the state of New South Wales through an online recruitment campaign in which candidates had to receive a minimum of 100 endorsements — either via its website or Facebook 'fans' — and raise a minimum of $200. This will be Senator Online's second Federal Election. When it contested in 2007, it received between 0.05 and 0.09 percent of each state's votes."
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Online Poll-Based Party Seeks Election Win

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  • I'd vote for 'em.

    • No kidding, it is democracy in it rawest form, and it looks like it may in fact be a better form of governing if the technological hurdles can be avoided or dealt with (vote rigging, hacking, 4chan, and other shenanigans)

      • Re:A good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:31AM (#32826966)

        Ahh, good ole' democracy, where 51% votes to oppress the other 49%. That's justice and liberty for all!

        • I would vote for them too. But not hoping some immediate revolution would take place. It's hard to implement and would have backlash from the establishment, claiming something is illegal, irregular, etc. Having the candidate fully represent his online-bosses (thats what constituents should be!) will become a practical and technical challenge. To really represent what the poll-participants said, he would have to also change his mind when they do, adopt positions setup and give speeches written by them,
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Hopefully the candidate would have enough sense not to follow Every suggestion from his home turf:

            - Should women be allowed to vote?
            55% no. 35% yes. 10% unsure

            - Recently teens were caught in lacivious activities (photographing each other naked). Should I pass a law to give them 10 year sentences in juvenile hall for producing child porn?

            70% yes. 20% no. 10% unsure

            And so on.

            • Another example (from the past)

              - We were just attacked and bombed at Pearl Harbor - an act of infamy. Should we round-up japanese-Americans and put them in concentration camps?

              - 90% yes. 10% no.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Requiem18th (742389)

                Wait wait wait both of you guys, are you telling us that direct democracy will cause those problems and representative democracy would prevent them? Because those examples actually happened under representative democracy not too long ago, so what's the shit are you talking about?

                • by kikito (971480)

                  Absolutely correct. The logic on the other two previous posts is flawed.

                • Actually the polling done in the article is a representative democracy. It's just done to the extreme. Remember the poll only determines the outcome of a single representative, who's job is to represent the views of his constituency.
                • How about: The World Trade Center was just hit by two planes filled with terrorists from Saudi Arabia. Nuke Saudi Arabia? Yes: 70%, No 10%, Undecided: 20%. I'm pretty sure that's how it would have went down if you had a vote a day or two after it happened...
                  • Ok my first proposal would be to impose multiple choice polls when posible using a Condocert method or similar.

                • >>>representative democracy would prevent them?

                  No but a Republic where the Law reigns Supreme would. The law would block the leadership from doing stupid stuff that violates individual rights.

                  (Except in those cases where the law is ignored of course - there needs to be punishment for those leaders.)

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Ahh, good ole' democracy, where 51% votes to oppress the other 49%. That's justice and liberty for all!

          Indeed, and don't even get me started on those countries - like some in North America - that don't even require 51% of people's vote to amend their constitution, effectively allowing the minority to oppress the majority!

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Indeed, and don't even get me started on those countries - like some in North America - that don't even require 51% of people's vote to amend their constitution, effectively allowing the minority to oppress the majority!

            At least it's not the US because it needs at least 66% of both houses to even PROPOSE an admendment.

            From http://www.usconstitution.net/constam.html [usconstitution.net]:

            There are essentially two ways spelled out in the Constitution for how to propose an amendment. One has never been used.

            The first method is

            • At least it's not the US because it needs at least 66% of both houses to even PROPOSE an admendment

              Did you even read the very text that you've posted?

              The second method prescribed is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States, and for that Convention to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions.

              The Congress is not involved in that scenario at all, only State legislatures.

              Yes, this method has never been used in practice. This doesn't make it invalid.

              • Sorry for not seeing your comment earlier.

                Anyway, two-thirds of the states' (34 out of 50) must call for a Constitutional Convention to propose the amendment.

                Afterwards, the proposed amendment needs to be approved by three-fourths of the states' (38 out of 50) legislature or convention.

                this still represents a majority.

                The Congress is not involved in that scenario at all, only State legislatures.

                True, but that actually gives the people more of a voice which is why it has never been used. Think of it as a

                • this still represents a majority.

                  As noted, it only represents the majority of the states, not the majority of the population. Whereas the end result will be binding on people, and not just states.

                  Yeah, I understand that this issue is mostly theoretical, anyway. But it's still a vulnerability, even if very hard to exploit.

                  • You are correct about the majority of the states versus population, but this is a good thing... let me explain this counter intuitive thought.

                    This allows better representation for everybody. The urban population centers wouldn't dictate what the rural states should do and vice versa.

                    Senate and state representation at the constitutional convention is a good compromise in the complexities of making sure all population and regional concerns are represented. Everybody has the same weight *and* it takes a sign

                    • This allows better representation for everybody. The urban population centers wouldn't dictate what the rural states should do and vice versa.

                      As it stands, the latter bit is potentially broken.

                      What would really fix it is a constitutionally protected right of the states to secede - that way, they don't have to live with the constitutional amendments that are pushed onto them by other states against their will; like, say, the potential gay marriage ban. If they hate it that much, they can secede for real, but more importantly, they can threaten to do so, forcing the hardliners on the other side to compromise.

        • by Locke2005 (849178)
          Democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep deciding on what to have for dinner...
        • by palndrumm (416336) *

          Ahh, good ole' democracy, where 51% votes to oppress the other 49%.

          Not in this case. From TFA:

          SOL senators will ... only vote on Bills if a "clear majority view" is determined by at least 100,000 votes and a 70 percent majority view.

        • by bandmassa (951387)
          And you thought the shift from Rudd to Gillard was quick? Wait until these guys get going. Sadly, I think if this caught on, Australia would degenerate to a car driving, foreigner hating, forest felling, coal burning, fascist nightmare state.

          Oh, it already has...
      • Ahhh, finally someone who cares is trying to implement the idea I had ~10 years ago!

        • Time to sue them in some east Texas court.
        • by severoon (536737)
          The idea is interesting, but I don't think I could stomach hearing the media prattle on about how a country is turning into a "cybocracy" or an "informationsuperhighwocracy".
          • Well, we need a prefix that sounds cool and references the people who would hold power—in this case, anyone with HTTP access. I suggest "Hypercracy".

      • by dave420 (699308)
        It's only one half of democracy. A democracy requires people are knowledgeable about the subject of their voting. This does nothing to fix that.
        • Have an test before each poll, which tests their knowledge about the subject.
          • by SimonGhent (57578)

            Have an test before each poll

            For example, a test on the correct use of the indefinite article.

            • Very funny. I first started to type "have an iq test", but then I hastily changed it, forgetting to switch "an" to "a".
      • by nstlgc (945418)
        marblecake, also the game.
    • by sorak (246725)

      I heard part of a radio show, a few days ago, there someone called in stating that he had a sex-offender record from when he was 18, and dating a 16 year old. Apparently, in his state, that is enough to get you tarred for life. He was about to date a woman with children, but is worried that, if he does, that child services will take her children away. The host said

      that's a tough one, I'm gonna throw it out to our audience. If you think he should break up with his girlfriend, text "break up" to XXXXXX. If you think they should stay together, text "stay" to XXXXXX

      I was shocked that the host would take something so serious, (even if the caller lacked the good judgment to not trust call-in radio shows for a

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:25AM (#32826864)

    The party does not have any policies or an official stance, and promises to conduct online votes on major issues and act in Parliament accordingly.

    Ok, so we suddenly now have a way to make really reliable online polls? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't trust a party with no real platform and outsourcing all policy decisions to whoever has the best poll-spamming software.

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      but I wouldn't trust a party with no real platform

      So you'd trust a party that does have a platform? Because history has shown that isn't too wise of an idea, either.

      and outsourcing all policy decisions to whoever has the best poll-spamming software.

      As opposed to whoever has the most money and the most industry connections?

      At least this way the public KIND OF has some say in what happens.

      • I'm a member of the Libertarian party of the US ( http://www.lp.org/ [lp.org] ) and the few candidates that are elected have done an excellent job of following the party's platform, and yes, they actually do have a platform that is united and coherent when compared to the Republican/Democrat parties. No one can accurately describe the platform for the Republican or Democrat parties in one sentence and have it be true for the majority of candidates. With the Libertarian party it is easy. "Maximize economic and person
        • No one can accurately describe the platform for the Republican or Democrat parties in one sentence and have it be true for the majority of candidates.

          Actually, both parties have the same platform: "Oppose what the other party supports"

        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by MightyMartian (840721)

          The problem with Libertarians is that you can see the platform and you quickly discover that Libertarians are a bunch of raving lunatics, hence the few elected. People would rather put up with the nebulous and vacuous platforms of the Republicans and Democrats than vote en masse for the likes Rand Paul (who has shown himself to be a right and proper Libertarian, racist and delusional).

          • Racist is a bit harsh, from what I've seen most libertarians are more inclined to say that the loss of freedom that comes from mandating racial acceptance isn't worth it. Not that I agree with that, but lets not confuse their idealism with racism. I will agree that the majority of the economic ideas they advocate are little more than wishful thinking for times gone by, rather than anything feasible for our modern world.

            • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @12:09PM (#32827502) Journal

              As has so often been pointed out, let's say we yanked all the Civil Rights legislation, and then let's say a black man is ejected from a restaurant which is now fully free to discriminate based on race. If the black man refuses to leave, and the police are called, the state is now not only tacitly accepting racism, it is in fact being used to actively support it.

              Beyond that, the "let them eat cake" philosophy was tried, and its advocates ended up lighter the weight of their heads. No society in history, save perhaps in advanced stages of breakdown, has ever functioned the way Libertarians seem to think a society should function. Even Rome gave out bread, the alternative being food riots. Even enlightened self-interest suggests that the state better do something about the underclasses. In medieval times, the Church was effectively a branch of government, with forms of taxation powers and incomes from large land holdings to underwrite charitable works.

              • "the state is now not only tacitly accepting racism, it is in fact being used to actively support it."

                Well, it is actually supporting private property and enforcing trespassing laws. If a person you don't like (for whatever reason) refuses to leave your house, wouldn't you want the police to come haul him out of your home?

                • First of all, I was talking about businesses. No civil rights legislation I ever heard of required you let anyone in your home you didn't want. But if you allow businesses to actively discriminate based on race, then you are essentially allowing organs of the state (the judiciary) to defend racism, under the guise of some sort of notion of unlimited property rights (though I never see Libertarians stating they're going to get rid of eminent domain, as always Libertarians are very uneven in how they apply

                  • by thodelu (1748596)
                    Yes, because trolls can ONLY be won by ignoring them. That is basic net wisdom - you cannot win over trolls. Even if you allow businesses to not display racism, that is not the same as changing other social aspects of racism. The business owner would still be teaching the same racist values he had to his kids. Trying to affect social change through legislation while do-able is tough. There can be other solutions that the Govt can do and does often - and that is propaganda. Propaganda has been used to be
                    • I would never look at this as teaching social change, I would look at it as assuring that the judiciary isn't effectively made to defy the spirit of laws like the Thirteenth Amendment. You're free to believe what you like, but you are not absolutely free to do as you want. It's an old principle, not a new one.

              • As has so often been pointed out, let's say we yanked all the Civil Rights legislation, and then let's say a black man is ejected from a restaurant which is now fully free to discriminate based on race. If the black man refuses to leave, and the police are called, the state is now not only tacitly accepting racism, it is in fact being used to actively support it.

                No, first off it is being used to enforce property rights, the same thing would happen if it was a violent person, or simply a person who refused to leave. Its no difference if someone is white/black/asian/etc. if they won't respect basic property rights, it is one of the state's proper jobs to remove them.

                Secondly, what benefit would it do to shop where you weren't wanted? Racism is by nature illogical and is punished by the free market. If you look at the state of blacks in the south, it was caused

        • by Haffner (1349071)

          "Maximize economic and personal freedom and reduce the role of the government in everyday society"

          While I agreed with that sentence for most of this past decade, I believe the recent troubles with trading derivatives and the like will require regulation. Libertarians are on the right track, and I believe that platform would get 90% of everything right, but the other 10% would be damaging.

          On the other hand, those currently in power seem content with getting it right 20% or less of the time.

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          See, that's the problem with following a group of people who have a "platform"...believing only one side has the answer is extremely limiting.

          Sure, I want government to keep their hands off my weed and my guns...but I would very much like them to keep their hands firmly gripped on things like automobile safety regulations, pharmaceutical drug regulations, public-funded assistance in disasters, things like that.

          The problem with Libertarians is that they see most any form of government intervention as bad. G

          • See, that's the problem with following a group of people who have a "platform"...believing only one side has the answer is extremely limiting.

            Amen! Pragmatism is an absolute must, even if, at times, it seems that everything runs towards the fuzzy center. A government has to have some latitude, some ability to look beyond the often narrow constraints of a single set of ideological axioms, otherwise it can turn into a locomotive moving at full steam towards an abyss. You look at societies like Hellenic Egy

        • I would be afraid of any political party who's so simplistic that you can describe their entire platform in one sentence.

          Particularly when that sentence is, "FUCK THE POOR."

        • by cas2000 (148703)

          ok, so you're a libertarian. which means you believe that government should be absolutely minimal, only existing for essential services like prevent coercion and protecting property rights.

          answer this then - why the hell should someone with bugger-all assets working in some shit minimum wage job pay taxes to protect the property of the rich?

          they don't benefit at all, they just get to subsidise the propertied classes asset protection schemes.

          With the Libertarian party it is easy. "Maximize economic and per

    • by jeffmeden (135043) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:32AM (#32826976) Homepage Journal

      The scary thing is that you don't even need overt corruption for this to go horribly wrong. All you need is a little persuasion and access to the right kinds of media. Anything can be spun, in any direction, and if it's up to every voter to be legitimately educated on every issue that comes up in government, GOD HELP US ALL! It's bad enough that the current popular representative form of government (around the world) basically gives a group of guys the keys to the country for 2-4 years at a stretch, now policy will shift daily based on who ran the most emotional commercials or trotted out the most appealing pundits on television.

      • now policy will shift daily based on who ran the most emotional commercials or trotted out the most appealing pundits on television.

        So they will mostly be busy repealing the laws that the previous bunch has voted in? Sounds good to me. ~

      • The scary thing is that you don't even need overt corruption for this to go horribly wrong. All you need is a little persuasion and access to the right kinds of media. Anything can be spun, in any direction, and if it's up to every voter to be legitimately educated on every issue that comes up in government, GOD HELP US ALL! It's bad enough that the current popular representative form of government (around the world) basically gives a group of guys the keys to the country for 2-4 years at a stretch, now policy will shift daily based on who ran the most emotional commercials or trotted out the most appealing pundits on television.

        This is the part that really astounds me. It doesn't matter what the facts are because people don't pay attention. I never understood how the Big Lie worked until I finally saw it in action. Once the disinformation is out there, it expands to fill up all available mindshare. The truth can't get a word in edgewise. Al Gore invented the Internet. Obama is a socialist who wasn't even born in America anyway. Free markets work. There isn't yet a conclusive link between cancer and tobacco.

        The other thing that rea

        • He's got Politics, he's got Religion, can he go for the Hat-trick? He does, he scores the Trolling Hat-trick with Microsoft! The crowd goes wild!!!! ;)
      • by istartedi (132515)

        All you need is a little persuasion and access to the right kinds of media

        Tell that to PG & E. Recently they spent something like $40 million on a proposition that would have forced municipalities to cast a 2/3 vote in order to set up alternative power systems. The initiative was a blatant example of that type of manipulation. The opposition raised a mere $100k. The initiative failed.

        The whole episode restored my faith in humanity... somewhat. I was surprised the thing got as many votes as it did

    • I know this is Australia, but being from the US, I would gladly pick this party over the two agendas we rotate between. Given the dissatisfaction Australians have of late with their gov't internet policy maybe a significant number of Australians will have similar thoughts.

      How reliable the polls are going to be is related to how strongly their identity verification is. I wonder how far they will take that burden of proof.

      I agree the idea of an Internet Party made up of the disparate psuedo-anonymous ne
    • by sorak (246725)

      Not only that, but you have to ask who controls the polls. Statisticians have known for a long time that you can easily introduce bias into a poll by framing it in favor of your agenda. Are they literally going to just sit back and do nothing until a bill comes up for a vote, place the entire thing online and give everyone a yay or nay vote, or will they participate in the writing of that bill?

    • by bkgood (986474)

      Ok, so we suddenly now have a way to make really reliable online polls? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't trust a party with no real platform and outsourcing all policy decisions to whoever has the best poll-spamming software.

      This is worse than the current system, in which only the richest people are able to influence policy? At least this lowers the bar, anyone with a $300 computer and a $20 internet connection can spam votes.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Or as one online poll [slashdot.org] puts it:

      This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.

    • by hoggoth (414195)

      So basically this will be the 4chan party?

      God help us all.

    • Just in response to the ‘mass spam and takeover polls issue.' Senator Online is a registered Australian political party with the AEC. As such all registered users must be on the Australian electoral role, and have their details cross referenced. All details remain strictly confidential and in compliance with Australian privacy and voting laws and regulatory requirements. Senator Online is not just a ‘polling platform,’ but an Australian political party, and as a result strict measures and
    • Just in response to the ‘mass spam and takeover polls issue:’ Senator Online is a registered Australian political party with the AEC. As such all registered users must be on the Australian electoral role, and have their details cross referenced. All details remain strictly confidential and in compliance with Australian privacy and voting laws and regulatory requirements. Senator Online is not just a ‘polling platform,’ but an Australian political party, and as a result strict measure
  • by rotide (1015173) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:25AM (#32826870)
    I like the idea in theory. Majority wins and not just the vocal (or rich) minority. However, how susceptible to fraud is this system going to be? Find an exploit in the code of the poll and run your opponents into the ground? Errors, glitches, server downtime, etc, etc, etc. I'm not saying any one of those problems is unique to this style of voting, but it does seem to be an easier target.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Majority wins and not just the vocal (or rich) minority.

      If you want to see direct democracy at work, look at California. The Swiss have something similar and some of their Cantons only gave women the vote in the 90s. Thats the 1990s. And they had to be forced to do it. If you want to deal with corruption outlaw corporate donations to political parties, thats all.

    • by ScentCone (795499)
      Majority wins and not just the vocal (or rich) minority

      The problem is that the majority wants free stuff, and wants it now. Just like in California, they (the majority, by referendum) paint themselves into a corner financially, and then see taxing the productive minority of the population as the only way out. The problem with non-productive, confiscatory majorities is that they eventually run out of people to take things from.
  • Sounds like Australia is well on their way to repealing the Second and Third laws of Thermodynamics, as they have proven to be unpopular in similar online electoral systems. I guess that's one way to get what you want.

  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:28AM (#32826914) Homepage Journal

    If this party comes to power, how long do you reckon it will take for the whole country to have it's name changed to "Stephen Colberia"?

  • 4chan (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Irick (1842362)
    My logic is flawless.
  • There are three revolutionary parties without policies or stance I would love to see:
    - Poll party (every issue is polled and thus as democratic as possible)
    - Scientific party (every issue is decided on basis of facts alone, weighing only measurable pro's and cons)
    - Neutral party (every issue is decided on election day, taking the stance of other parties based in votes total for each issue. This works as an equalizer, only taking the best of all parties. NOTE: this only works if there are a lot more than
    • Sure, whats the scientific stance on gay marraige or abortion?
      • Sure, whats the scientific stance on gay marriage?

        Marriage is a legal union of two people.
        Marriage laws are not concerned with sexual orientation, only a person's anatomical sex.

        For example:
        A heterosexual male can marry a bisexual or even homosexual female.
        A homosexual man can legally marry a homosexual woman.

        Since many types of gay marriage are already legal it makes no logical sense to disallow only one specific case:
        A homosexual same sex marriage.

        In conclusion:
        Sexual discrimination is illegal.
        Gay marriage IS ALREADY LEGAL.
        Let us formally and legally dec

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by XxtraLarGe (551297)

          Discrimination based on sex is wrong.

          I'm not trolling but you've just demonstrated a problem with a "scientific" party. You can't prove that discrimination is wrong using the scientific method. You and I may not like discrimination for whatever reason, but there's nothing in science that allows you to say something is wrong in a moral sense.

      • Mu [catb.org]: it does not apply. Or more correctly: The facts do not support a decision on the issue at this time one way or another.

        (Well, I'm sure there would have to be 'abortion is legal at least in order to save the life of the mother if the alternative is that both the mother and child die'. Widening the decision scope beyond that would be tricky at the very least.)

        On both of these they might be able to form a coherent approach if they were given a specific, defined question about the issue. Part of the curr

      • by thijsh (910751)
        Good examples! I'll do a short attempt:

        Gay marriage: There is marriage for the government and marriage for the church, a church can choose not to marry gay people, but they have no say over the state. Furthermore the value of the marriage before the state is in no way diminished, and it reduces complication with (parental) rights. There is no proven effect that two homosexual parents can't raise children, but they generally have less children and both have an income so they are good for the economy. All i
  • 4chan is going to love this.
  • ...till someone hacks one of their polls and a half-million votes appear for puppy meat as the national food. I only see this ending well.

  • Reminds me of the Dutch party TON (Trots op Nederland / Proud of The Netherlands). They tried to write the official election program on a public wiki. That was a disaster! All I can remember was "free toothpaste for everyone". Asking the general public for an opinion on everything is nice, but they should be able to make an informed decision.
  • by GreatAntibob (1549139) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:47AM (#32827186)

    It's a dangerous idea to let a majority of voters decide things. Think about the Civil Rights Act in the US. If it had been based on direct polling of the public, it never would have passed. The whole point of a representative democracy is that the guys elected (or appointed) to the legislature should, in theory, be wise enough to occasionally act against the wishes of the majority of the public, even if this costs future elections. Doing the "right" thing isn't always doing the popular thing.

    It's also the case that you don't always want a simple majority deciding issues. All you would need is a bloc of 51% of the polled members always agreeing to vote the same way. That's how political parties came about in the first place. Even though the other 49% represent almost the same number of people, their voices would be ignored in favor of a slightly larger group.

    This type of "Party" might work for a few seats, but I doubt the general public of any nation is sufficiently informed (or intelligent) to decide on general legislation. It also opens the door to allowing small minorities (ethnic, religious, etc) to be completely ignored in favor of larger minorities or majorities (consider the case of Port Chester, NY). Perhaps not such a big problem in Australia but something to consider for direct democracies of all types. They only tend to work in places with very homogeneous groups of people (homogeneous ethnically, religiously, and economically).

    • I understand the opinion that it can be dangerous to allow the majority to decide on policy, as the majority will not necessairy make the best decisions. However, majority view is what makes the foundations of a democratic system, and although democracy itself is not perfect, does a perfect political system exist? How can consulting with the people's voice in the formation on policy be a bad thing for Australians? It ultimately forms a part of the 'checks and balances' process, and hence ultimately allows u
  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:48AM (#32827214) Homepage Journal

    i've been thinking a lot about virtual democracy, and how it would be superior to our status quo of "elect a liar, send him to the capital to vote for whichever corporation pays him the most money instead of his constituent's interests" bullshit that is the biggest problem with corruption and democracy

    transitioning to virtual democracy is obviously a problem, but this is a brilliant political hack because it basically force inserts virtual democracy into our status quo political system. huzzah! great idea guys ;-)

    however, i have three complaints with virtual democracy. i still think the idea of virtual democracy is superior to elect-the-asshole-with-the-most-corporate-dollars that we currently live under, however, these complaints are real and need to be addressed:

    1. fraud. how the hell do you prevent people from outside your constituency from voting? how do you make sure they vote only once? how do you prevent outright vote tampering, spoofing, etc. we have serious technological security problems here

    2. apathy. a benefit of sending a representative to government rather than individuals voting all the time is that its tiresome. none of us have the time to familiarize ourselves with every issue and vote constantly, we have lives to lead. additionally, for emotionally contentious issues, you are going to have passionate minorities voting and the apathetic majority not voting. so the minority decides issues, and then the majority wakes up the next morning and goes "what happened?" example, gay rights: the social conservatives will come out in force and drown out the gay votes, and even though the majority is in favor of gay rights, they simply won't get off their asses and do the right thing and vote for what is right because their own selfish interests are not immediately and obviously threatened. again, a problem, not a fatal one, but a real problem with virtual democracy

    3. corruption always finds a way. in the philippines it is a sort of joke that 200 peso notes become scarce around election times, because of all the outright vote buying that goes on. the philippines has a lot of poverty, so this doesn't happen in countries where the middle class dominates, but the way deregulation and whittle down the government libertarian morons are in vogue, we are destroying the middle class, and we'll be with the philippines soon enough (oh, libertarians, you didn't know your ideology meant a sea of poor and a few ultrarich and the destruction of the middle class?). people are unfortunately so damn apathetic and pessimistic and mindlessly negative in general, even about stuff that obviously matters to them, that in a virtual democracy, they would happily whore their votes out for a few bucks. so we will always have to fight corruption, virtual democracy won't do away with it, just move it around

    i'm just sick of electing the asshole with the most corporate dollars, like we currently live under, and i happily embrace any corruption negatives in a virtual democracy system, as long as we get away from the outright prostitution for greed and ignoring of constituents that currently goes on at the legislative level

    • Once people figure out they can vote more money for themselves, they do, see California for reference. If you want to ban corporate donations, ban corporate donations.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by $lashdot (472358)

      so the minority decides issues, and then the majority wakes up the next morning and goes "what happened?" example, gay rights: the social conservatives will come out in force and drown out the gay votes, and even though the majority is in favor of gay rights, they simply won't get off their asses and do the right thing and vote for what is right because their own selfish interests are not immediately and obviously threatened. again, a problem, not a fatal one, but a real problem with virtual democracy

      Well, "gay rights" encompasses a lot of things. When this gets narrowed down to just one issue, say for example, "gay marriage," you might find that the majority does not agree with you. For example, an article today about Hawaii's governor vetoing "gay civil unions," while it sort of supports your point about politicians being in the way, also reports, "Nationwide, voters have consistently rejected same-sex marriage. Five states -- Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont -- and the Dist

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Are you aware of the fact that the Shift and Caps Lock keys on your keyboard are broken? Yes, I believe representative democracy is better than direct democracy for a lot of things. However, I do think we should be allowed to decide what purposes at least a percentage of our tax remittances are used for when we file our taxes. That would make it easy to determine which programs are unpopular with the taxpaying public.
    • by cacba (1831766)

      A proxy system that allows you to give your vote, by issue, to another. This has many benefits:

      -a large amount of the votes still are cast
      -doesnt require everyone to be an expert on everything
      -if votes on one issue are concentrated in few enough hands, bargaining can occur

      How to transition to this form of government? Use it for local elections, its small scale and mistakes wont have a large effect. The transparency created would be welcome.

    • by mentil (1748130)

      I have a potential solution to all three problems. Essentially, a random sample of constituents would be able to vote on any given issue; their voting would be compulsory, if they didn't vote they'd be removed from a list and wouldn't be allowed to vote again. This would prevent a vocal minority from being overrepresented while the majority is apathetic.

      How to avoid fraud? Those who are selected to vote would be mailed an embedded system that is hard-coded to only be able to register votes with the voting s

    • by mdmkolbe (944892)

      By the time a bill comes up for a vote most of the politics of has already happened. If you want your views represented, you have to get them in the bill while it is still in committee. Some of this is lobbying/persuading your fellow committee members that your ideas are good. Some parts amount to finding a compromise that will gather enough support and still be close to what you wanted. Other parts just boil down to political and procedural maneuvering (e.g. passing a measure that indirectly results in

    • by barv (1382797)

      Your three points about the dangers of direct government:

      1. The senate in Australia has 12 senators from each state. Six are elected every three years. Each senator is elected for a six year term. We have a system of preference voting where each voter in the state (say NSW) votes for each candidate in order of preference. Once a candidate has made his quota (1/7th + 1 of the votes cast) then his preferences are distributed proportionally according to his elector's instructions. If a candidate does not

  • The very idea behind Senator Online is absurd and potentially dangerous for this reason: it is democratic. It supposes a government ought to do whatever the people want. We are so used to hearing "democratic" being used as synonymous with "something related to political theory and a good idea as well" that we forget it is merely majority tyrrany, two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. The popular mob acts, uninformed, with caprice and malice, and forever seeks to loot with support of the
    • We elect members from a more-or-less dedicated political class whose job it is to know the constitution and keep current with events and facts so that they may legislate, we hope, justly and in an informed way

      Thank you for a dose of healthy laughter in the morning, this truly brought tears of joy to my eye.

      "Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

      You also score bonus points for using the word "rabble", though you missed the opportunity to mention "sheeple" somewhere. Rand disapproves.

  • Should be from the "no good can come from this" department.
  • This is called superdemocracy. And it's not a very good form of democracy. Although reality may differ, politicians are elected to be in positions to make informed decisions about potential legislation, and protect the minority from being screwed by the majority. In other words, decmocracy as we have in the US is designed to allow the people making the decisions be in positions to receive and comprehend relevant information, evidence and expert testimony (and lobbying) before making such decisions. I'd

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