Initiatives v Oligarchy

Our Founders' Warning: “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” (Thomas Jefferson)

Must IQA Members be Registered or Eligible to Vote?

IQA Members Registered or Eligible Vote

Comprising IQA members registered or eligible vote, the key function of the IQA is to select and develop Initiatives on which the People would desire to vote if they had a comprehensive opportunity to think about the issues. There are two defensible ways to define who the “People” are for this purpose:

  1. Actual Voters.  Actual voters number about 129 million (2012 Presidential election).
  2. Registered Voters. Registered voters number about 146 million. This seems to be the best population from which to select the IQA if its primary function were to predict the outcome of the vote on Initiatives. It is also the population who can sign signature petitions to qualify initiatives in the States.
  3. Citizens who are Eligible to Vote. There are about 219 million. Citizens who are eligible to vote, whether or not they are registered. This seems the most inclusive population from which to select the IQA. Many eligible voters do not register because they: do not wish to be called upon for jury duty, are disenchanted with the current political system, or not interested in voting. Nevertheless, for the most part, they are as good tax-paying Citizens as those registered to vote.

Since the IQA is a surrogate for the People, and the right of tax-payers to be enfranchised is clear, the IQA membership should be drawn from as many U.S. Citizens as reasonably feasible. For this reason, the second (eligible) definition of the People is used in this Solution.

Citizens under 18 years of age (25.7 percent of the total) are not included in the IQA, assuming traditionally that their judgment had not developed sufficiently and that their parents and other Citizens will represent them adequately. Polls of their opinions can be taken and they can be invited to present opinions before the IQA.

Admittedly, including Citizens who are eligible to vote will reduce the IQA’s ability to predict the vote on Initiatives. Moreover, because of its deliberative nature, IQA Members will no longer reflect the views of the population from which they were drawn (this is true for either definition of who are the “People”). Fortunately, these two issues can be roughly compensated by having Members vote twice on Candidate Initiative. The first time doing their best to make the best choices on behalf of all U.S. Citizens. The second time, Members who normally do not vote should abstain, and those who normally do vote should vote as if they had not been through a thorough the deliberative process. This second vote will provide a prediction of the nationwide vote, and comparison with the nationwide vote will test it probity. Further refinement of the second vote should be able make it a useful predictive tool.

The decision to include Citizens who are eligible but not registered to vote may have an additional benefit. The Initiative process will give them a genuine stake in participation, and is likely to increase voter turnout.