Here’s a thought, a different type of democracy, one where everyone gets to cast a vote. It is a universal suffrage, once you have reached the required age. Everyone can register and everyone gets the chance to put an X on the ballot paper only there is a difference. You can only cast someone else’s vote. It’s a delegated democracy.
It’s not a proxy system where you get to vote on behalf of someone else. Instead it is a system where you forfeit your vote to another person and they do the same. You still get to have your say but someone else has to enter the booth and mark the paper. Everyone who is eligible gets paired up, not with a member of their family or a friend but with a complete stranger. People are paired off randomly through the portal through which they have registered.
Before you can vote, before either of you can vote you must contact each other electronically through an on-line chat room. You both remain anonymous and have to discuss what the issues are and how it would be best to vote. You don’t have to agree, you don’t have to arrive at a consensus but you have to have the dialogue. Once both parties are happy that this has taken place then with a click of a button your are ready to go to the polling booth. You are given several weeks in advance to allow such discussions to take place.
So what is the advantage of this over the current system? Today, when election times come round, you can just do your own thing. You can vote with your own mind and you don’t need to engage in the political process at all. You can vote the same way that you always have done and you can mark the paper without any real thought at all. With this system you can’t. You have to discuss the issues with another member of the electorate. You have to be a part of the process, part of the debate and if you are not then you lose your chance this time around.
Of course it may not alter the outcome. Your pair may still vote as they were going to. So might you but in this way only those who have made the effort to engage in the process get the right to have a say in the future of the country.