Which country is the most democratic? (By my definition)

I have read about the Democracy Index which ranks countries by how democratic they are but the system they use doesn’t provide an answer to my question.

I would like to know which country holds the most votes on national or local issues. In a lot of democracies the people will vote a party into power and that party will then perform as it sees fit without further public input, possibly requiring that large changes get passed by a vote amongst other elected individuals. What I am looking for is a country that allows the public to vote on the passing of new laws/bills/acts etc.

For example, in Queensland at the moment we are going through a sort of vote on the introduction of daylight savings, rather than the Queensland government deciding they are allowing the people to decide. I know (from movies/tv so possibly ‘know’ is a bit strong) that in America certain issues are passed to public vote, usually called ‘PropXX’ where XX is an integer. How is it decided which issues are voted on in this manner and which are decided by the elected officials?

Are there any countries where national votes are frequent, e.g. ‘We’ve come up with this new health plan, what do you think?’ or ‘Which of these percentage splits would you favour for budget allocation between health, education and military?’

So, which country should I live in if I wanted to have a say on more individual issues as opposed to voting for who I want to speak and decide on my behalf?

Switzerland, perhaps?

I do not know the answer to your question but realize this level of democracy has its own, very real problems.

To wit consider the state of California in the US. The populace gets to act as their own legislature (essentially). Unfortunately these people are not really accountable to anyone but themselves. So, they do things like cap property taxes while increasing expenditures on social services and education and the result is a seriously bad fiscal situation (really, really bad and the government has little ability to fix it).

Or you get things like Proposition 8 in California which was about same sex marriage. Regardless where you stand on that issue the amazing thing was a great deal of money and lobbying for its passage (to deny same sex marriages) came from out of state (45% from Utah alone where the Church of Latter Day Saints [Mormons] was the big force behind that). So, outside interests have a real ability to influence policy.

Careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

I was going to suggest Switzerland as well. Many matters are decided at the cantonal level, which is even better than national referenda for internal issues.

In the fall 2008 election in California, the one where Obama was elected president, I had to decide on 23 different items on my ballot. If that’s not democratic I don’t know what is.

However, only one ballot issue was national: President and Vice-President. Several were state matters, and lots were local matters. Those of you who don’t live in the U.S. would be amazed to see what kinds of things we vote on. Member of the local water district board is one I remember from that election, for example.