Idea In Progress: A new kind of electoral reform

What if you could not only vote, but change your vote at any point, vote for individuals rather than parties and have your vote reflected in government without having elections at all?

This is an idea in progress. There are some flaws that would need to be addressed and a lot of “what about” questions to answer but I think that there’s enough value to make it worth throwing out there.

What if our electoral system worked like this:
Every voter has a web page where they can vote and express their opinions. On your page there is a voting section where you can select a certain number of candidates (we’ll say three just to use as an example). At the end of every year, the numbers are crunched and candidates who have sufficient votes are invited to take a seat in Parliament, and those who have fallen below that threshold are sent home. There would not be a set number of parliamentarians, space would be made for everyone who had sufficient votes.

If you felt that it was important to have a representative from your local area, you could work with other members of your community to generate enough votes for someone local, if you’re not concerned about geography you could simply find people who share your views on issues important to you and help to get that person elected or you could spread your votes around and vote for local candidates as well as people who shared your ideas.

Your page would also have a section that worked like a “Vote Compass” style quiz. This would allow Parliament to see how people felt overall, and MPs to see how their specific constituents feel.

Your representatives would also be able to use the page to ask questions or send messages to their constituents.

At any point, any voter could visit their page and change their votes. That means that the statement “you don’t represent me anymore and you just lost my vote” would be a very meaningful statement.

All votes could be verified by blockchain to alleviate security concerns.

Also, polling would be a thing of the past because anyone could go to the website and, with a couple of clicks, see how people were voting, how they felt about issues and how Parliament was likely to look next year.

Obviously this might also work for provincial and local governments, allowing all Canadians to vote and express their opinions to all levels of government from a single page.

As I said, this is an embryonic idea and there are a lot of questions and potential problems.

  • What would happen to political parties?
  • If parties were weakened how would the prime minister and cabinet be selected.
  • What is the threshold where people would be allowed into parliament?
  • What would the requirements be to become an official candidate and start collecting votes?
  • Would the lack of official election periods allow lawmakers to calm down and do their jobs, or would things devolve into a never-ending election?
  • How would potential candidates campaign? Would they still collect donations in order to promote their candidacy or would everything be left to social media and word of mouth?
  • Could ways be found to help voters find candidates they liked out of thousands of potential contenders, or would they be on their own to find the right people?

There are a lot of potential problems to address and questions to answer, but there seems to be a great deal of discontent with our current system and there are certainly no alternative systems that are anywhere close to a consensus at this point. So, I felt like the core idea had enough value to throw it out there and give people something to think about.

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