Please help me understand why this [radical change to voting rules] is a bad idea

I get to vote every now and then, and it has proved to be a rather unsatisfying experience. In my district, the rep is actually a kind of decent guy, but he belongs to the party full of crazies, so he ends up standing in support of them. At the same time, the people on the far side of the state are irked that both the Senators for the state are not in their corner.

This past week, there was an election in Alberta and one in Britain that showed results that were a bit unbalanced for the electorate. Governments that will be in power probably through most of the rest of this decade.

As I understand it, in England they have bookmakers who lay odds on elections and, I guess, take bets and pay winners. Which seems pretty appropriate, as elections all around have the appearance of little more than a basketball game or cricket test match. It feels as though the powers that be are just entertaining us so that we fail to notice the sodomy as much.

In the US, there are a number of wackadoodle extremist groups that sometimes become violent, or at least troublesome, and I get the sense that a good part of their discontent arises from feeling shut out of the process. While I would not enjoy having wackadoodle-type policy ensconced in the civil code, it seems likely those people may have some valid and useful contributions to make in other areas where they have real expertise or wisdom. And including them in the process would almost certainly moderate their discontentment.

The concept I put forth here is clearly not immune to being corrupted, I would not argue on that point (independent oversight would be a necessity). But it does seem like it would be a little less sensitive to the negative influence of big money, as well as (in this description) more dynamic over time. Therewith,

Each qualified citizen has one vote to exercise in the House of (Whatever). Since the vast majority lack the time to devote to this, citizens shall have the right to delegate their vote to a representative.

The opportunity to assign, reassign or retract a vote comes at a regular interval, every four months, at the option of the individual (i.e., filing is on set dates, if the person chooses to make a change at that time), but each individual must wait at least twelve months between making a change.

When a tally of collected votes is made, in order to assess the weight of each representative’s voting power, no representative is entitled to wield more than 1.25% of the total for the House, and no representative may be barred without just cause if they hold at least 0.35%. The minimum quorum must be 80 representatives, the maximum 300.

Each representative may retain delegated voting power for three full years from the time of their initial assessment; upon completion of this term, all delegated votes must be released to the voters who provided them, and that representative is enjoined from collecting votes for one year. Any single vote may only pass between a representative and the citizen whose vote it rightfully is.

The house shall make its sessions available to any citizen who holds at least one vote unless just cause can be shown for barring them. A single daily session may not exceed 300 direct participants, so the House shall keep a record of requests and shall honor them in the order received.

Your last rule seems to mean that if a group gets 600 participants to apply sequentially, they are guaranteed to get at least one day where they occupy all 300 spots and can then spend that day passing any law they like.

The concept seems ripe for wealthy people buying voting power. In the current system, you can throw money into a campaign and lose and get nothing to show for it. In your proposal, a wealthy person can be guaranteed to be able to wield significant voting power if they are willing to pay enough money to buy votes. And there will be plenty of people willing to sell their vote.

It also seems ripe for fraud. A huge portion of the population is not going to bother dealing with assigning their vote to anyone, and someone will find a way to “utilize” those unmonitored votes.

Since nobody is going to waste their proxy when it comes for a trade agreement with Finland to be voted on, everyone is going to save their proxy up for an important vote. Impeaching the President, for instance, or confirming a Supreme Court Justice.

So, once a year, some really big important vote will, in essence, be farmed directly out to We the People, and we’ll have direct democracy for that one issue.

No compromises, no trade-offs, no negotiations, no concessions, just one day when every jackass and shitheel in the country has a direct say in one of the most important decisions the country faces.

Sounds like a ready-made recipe for sheer disaster. Where are the checks and balances?

I guess my draft was unclear. There are at least 80 seated members who are guaranteed a place in the House, but the number would probably be more like 200+; the remainder of the 300 spots (at least 14, up to 220) are open to the public.

The seated representatives wield voting power based on how many people have assigned their vote to them. The public who attend ad hoc may wield the voting power they have: a seated representative has voting power equivalent to thousands or millions of people, while a citizen typically has voting power equivalent to one person (to represent other voters, you must register to collect votes and have them assessed on the most recent designated date, you cannot just wave a stack of papers at the Speaker and claim the right to vote for a bunch of people). So, for an average citizen participating directly, it would be a chance to debate and maybe cast a symbolic vote.

Citizens who have registered and collected a lot of votes but fall short of the 0.35% threshold for a seat may participate when they can and wield their voting power to its full extent, but they must wait in the queue to get in – essentially, such participation would amount to campaigning to get more votes. (If there were, say, 180 million votes assigned, the threshold for getting a seat would be around 630 thousand.)

The first crippling flaw that comes to mind is that voting power is going to flow to celebrities, demagogic politicians, and media personalities. Competent and fair but boring people are not going to attract many votes.

The next flaw is inherent to all direct democracies, but is magnified by your system; rapid policy swings that have a debilitating effect on the economy and social life. One day, the queue is camped by hundreds of anti-abortion activists who ban abortion across the United States. The next day, thousands of activists from the League of Women Voters reverse the decision and abolish all abortion restrictions in the country. Regardless of your personal beliefs on the issue, it should be easy to see that rapid vacillation on any topic is bad for America.

Finally, the ability to participate in debate is highly skewed to homeless people, retirees, and Washington DC college students. Normal, working class people who live in other cities or the heartland won’t derive any benefit from the new system.

I’m sure there are more flaws that a more in-depth analysis would reveal.

ETA: I think the overall effect of this system would be to increase the number of extreme candidates with large voting power, and thus to increase political polarization. That seems like the opposite of what we need right now.

A legitimate point. Though, when you look at how Congress is constituted today, not too far off. Nonetheless, lesser parties would probably coalesce and support their own people, possibly gaining some traction in the process

Yeah, no, this is a suggestion on how to constitute the House which has no bearing on the underlying process. Bills extremely rarely get proposed and passed in a very short time frame, so daily changes to the code would not be happening. There is still the committee cycle to go through, major legislation takes weeks in best-case, sometimes years to get to the president.

Based on what?