Direct Representation

Rules


The Rules

Direct Representation requires only a few simple rules to establish voting rights, control the size of the legislature, and ensure that power flows smoothly.

Rule 1: Basic rights

  1. Each mature citizen has the right to have one vote be cast in a legislature.
  2. Each voter has the right to secretly delegate his or her one vote (assign a proxy) to a member of the legislature.

  A secret ballot is required to prevent voter intimidation and encourage legislators to represent everyone, not just their direct supporters.

Rule 2: Size limits of legislature

  1. New representatives must hold at least a threshold number of proxies (perhaps 1/1000 of them) to be eligible to participate in the legislature.
  2. A representative holding one percent (1/100) or more of the total number of proxies may not accept new proxies.
  3. Participation of half of all proxies or 100 members (whichever is greater) is required for the legislature to do business.

  The first part of this rule caps the size of the legislature. If power in the legislature becomes concentrated, the value inherent in different people's diversity of opinion, background, and skill is lost, so the second part of the rule prevents this.

Rule 3: Timing of transfers

A voter may only transfer a proxy when either:

  1. The voter's birthday was no more than 28 days ago.
  2. The voter's representative is no longer a member of the legislature.

  This rule ensures that voters stay committed to their legislator for a reasonable minimum amount of time, and that the legislature changes gradually rather than abruptly or unpredictably.

Rule 4: New members

  1. At any time of the year, a voter may issue or revoke pledges to transfer a proxy to a new candidate as soon as it is available. A new candidate is someone not participating in the legislature, but seeking to.
  2. Pledges are counted toward the number of proxies necessary for participation.
  3. When a new candidate to whom a voter has pledged becomes eligible to participate in the legislature, all of that voter's other pledges are revoked. The voter may not revoke that pledge, and may not make new pledges until the candidate receives the voter's proxy.

  New members would gather pledges in campaigns similar to petition drives for ballot initiatives. A pledge has more meaning, though. You can pledge to as many candidates as you want, but as soon as one has enough to enter the legislator, you would be committed to that candidate. Your proxy will automatically transferred to that candidate at your next birthday (or if your current representative quits) and you would not be able to make other pledges until then.

  The pledge system is a simple and reliable way to allow for the continuous introduction of members within the timing constraints of Rule 3. It gives voters a great deal of freedom to find a strong new candidate and provides that candidate at least a year of job security once elected.

Variations

These rules could be adapted to fit specific needs. For example: