Competition year: 2001
About Neil Coulter
Democracy is fundamentally and instinctively attractive to most humans. However, worldwide there is dissatisfaction with the various procedures by which supposedly democratic representation in governments is achieved. Populations these days seem very disillusioned with politicians, mainly because of the distance between individual electors and their elected representatives. Globalisation, and in particular, the Internet, result in much better informed electorates, and because of increasing scepticism with the general political systems around the world coupled with religious conflicts, the world cauldron is beginning to simmer.
Is there a better way for a democratic society to govern itself? Many problems and resentments today stem from the fact that few voters have ever met their candidate, nor had any chance to discuss issues troubling them. They are resigned to the realisation that if elected, he/she will of necessity vote for the policy of their political party, which sometimes conflicts with local wishes or necessities. There is a lack of trust that their representative will faithfully serve their interests. Electors believe that their representatives give more priority to securing re-election than to the needs of the electorate.
Today, it is clearly possible to record the personal details of all people of voting age. Look for example at Medicare systems, driver's licences, tax file numbers etc. Distasteful as it may seem to some, it is very feasible to have every eligible voter recorded on a database. Even in semi-literate countries the fundamental record keeping for the system advocated below can be simply done, although the additional advantages of referenda voting would not be possible.
A democratic system is needed under which every elector votes for somebody he knows personally, in an umbrella of full democracy by universal secret ballots, so that even if an elector's personal preferences are not adopted, he is satisfied that he was given his democratic chance.
1. Require all citizens of voting age who live adjacent to each other, that is in the same street, in the same apartment block, or in widely scatters farm communities, to form into groups of ten electors.
2. By secret ballot, each group of ten voters to elect annually one of their members to represent the group and to be responsible for recording the membership details. All records would be periodically forwarded to a central body to be recorded on an appropriate database. Such voting would be non-compulsory.
3. As population movements occur, the group size can flex between six and fourteen. If it grows to more than fourteen, it would be split into two groups. If less than six, amalgamations would be arranged with neighbouring groups.
4. Allow each representative of ten electors, say a "TEN",to hold office for a year, and to undertake to arrange and hold regular meetings, say four times a year, unless unusual circumstances arise.
5. A TEN would receive no payment, but may be assisted by some small taxation relief.
6. Require each adjoining group of TENS to meet regularly and elect one of their number by secret ballot to represent the HUNDRED, to hold office for two years, with slightly greater taxation relief. Such election voting would be compulsory.
7. Require each group of ten hundreds to meet and elect one of their number to be a THOUSAND. These persons may need some small reward for their efforts, and recompense of expenses. They would be the equivalents of notaries or Justices of the Peace. They would hold office for three years, and then stand for re-election.
8. In a similar manner, TENTHOUSANDS, HUNDREDTHOUSANDS, MILLIONS, AND TENMILLIONS could be elected. Note that this last requires only seven levels of representatives.
9. For example, a TENMILLION would hold office for seven years, but on subsequent re-election, would be vulnerable to the vote of his initial ten people, forcing him to avoid becoming too remote from ordinary day to day problems.
10. For such a voting population as described, a TENMILLION would be the equivalent of a President or Prime Minister. The MILLIONS would be the equivalent of an Inner Cabinet, and so on down the system. Lower levels would be the equivalent of provincial officers, those higher of state government.
11. Higher levels of representatives would be paid higher remunerations.
12. Every representative would be required by law to vote according to the majority wishes of the group he represents. This would be the lynch pin of the whole system, ensuring true democratic results and avoiding corruption potentialities. All voting on issues raised would be recorded in official minutes.
13. Appropriate bureaucracies would carry out effective government as at present, but without interference by government members seeking to bend the procedures to enhance their chances of re-election, either of themselves or of their political party. In essence, political parties would disappear. Government members would function to determine and approve the objectives and targets, and to appoint the public servants only.
14. Emergency procedures may be required to depose any elector before his due date because of unacceptable performance, say insanity, criminal action, bankruptcy etc.