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Delegative democracy
(or "liquid democracy")

In essence, the purpose of delegation is that it allows everyone to participate in votes and hold ultimate control whilst allowing delegators to place their vote with trusted people that might know more about a particular Policy or category of Policies.

NewVote considers it unrealistic to expect each member of the public to have the time or interest to be sufficiently informed and engaged to vote competently on every issue (ie. to have formed a judgment rather than a mere opinion). That’s the most important reason why delegation is essential - we cannot expect widespread uptake if the public cannot delegate their vote.

Another important consideration is that delegation allows persons with intellectual disabilities to participate.

NewVote and Delegative democracy

The prototypical delegative democracy has been summarized as containing six principles, these are summarised below alongside NewVote’s response:

NewVote's response


1) Choice of Role: Each member can choose to take either a passive role as an individual or an active role as a delegate. Delegates have further choices as to how active they are and in what areas.

NewVote will allow users to make as many delegations as they choose, whether that be from one vote on one Policy, to every vote in a particular category of Policies or every Policy on every topic.

Users can decide whether they want to be a delegate on any one Policy or category of Policies.

2) Low Barrier to Participation: The difficulty and cost of becoming a delegate is small, and in particular does not require political campaigning or winning a competitive election.

NewVote agrees and allows any user to be a delegate (whether private or public - see principle 5 below).

3) elegated Authority: Delegates exercise power in the process on behalf of themselves and those individuals who select them as their delegate. Different delegates, therefore, can exercise varying levels of decision power.

Newvote agrees. So whilst the option will always remain open to every person to do so, users may choose to delegate their vote to other users such as a trusted friend with similar values, a community leader or an expert who then casts the user’s vote with their own.

4) Privacy of the Individual: To avoid social pressures or coercion, all votes made by individuals are private, both from other individuals and from delegates.

NewVote agrees.

5) Accountability of the delegates: To ensure the accountability of delegates to their voters and to the community at large, all formal deliberative decisions made by delegates are completely public (or in some forms viewable only to their constituents).

NewVote agrees. We believe there may be two forms of delegations:

  • private - users delegate to a friend etc who otherwise remains anonymous; and

  • public - for delegates that wish to make their views open to everyone.

6) Specialization by Re-Delegation: Delegates can not only act directly on behalf of individuals as generalists, but through re-delegation they can also act on behalf of each other as specialists.

NewVote agrees.