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This month's newsletter features the following sections: Announcements, State of the Organization, Deliberations, and DL (Democratic Lottery) Roundup of articles, papers, and reports of interest. To see the accompanying graphics, be sure your email client or browser is set to display images. 


From the Editor

Welcome to the DWE newsletter. Feedback is appreciated. Please send your responses to content and relevant links to articles, papers, and reports of interest, as well as proposals for "Deliberations" articles and other features to

DWE January Monthly Meeting

Sunday, January 16, 4:00-5:00 PM Eastern (1:00-2:00 PM Pacific)

Come a few minutes early and meet people informally.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 894 7829 2866
Passcode: 657919

Featuring a Presentation by Yoram Gat,
editor of Equality by Lot

Democratic Lotteries (Sortition) - The Struggles to Come

The public is steadily losing faith in the elections-based system and as a result sortition has made great strides over the last decade. However, there is still a long way to go and the road ahead is full of perils. I will present my view of where we are, what may be the paths that lie ahead of us, and what we can do to make it more likely that the path taken among those possible paths will be one of democratization rather than of oppression.
.We will be sharing our wins and our woes with our Winter Solstice Sortition Well-Wishers. Feel free to bring a bite and beverage. Get cozy with DWE company.

January DWE Board Meeting

Thursday, January 6,⋅7:00-9:00 PM Eastern (4:00 – 6:00 PM Pacific)
Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 849 2744 6724
Passcode: 492989

Citizens' Assemblies from the Inside

One has to be selected in a democratic lottery to actually be in a citizens' assembly, and those chances are slim. Yet those in the movement could benefit by being in one. There is a way! Democracy Without Elections has teamed with Healthy Democracy and the Building a New Reality Foundation to put you in a mock citizens' assembly in February!

Sign up is now, and space is limited. Check for the email titled "Mock Citizens' Assembly" from Owen for more information, or email him.

.We will be sharing our wins and our woes with our Winter Solstice Sortition Well-Wishers. Feel free to bring a bite and beverage. Get cozy with DWE company.

Lottery? Sortition? Random? 

Which should we use when talking about the movement to involve everyday people in making policy? The DWE Board asked the Outreach Committee to study this and make a recommendation to DWE.

The term "Democratic Lottery" was found to be easier to understand for anyone new to the movement. Most people did not know what "sortition" meant and the word sounded off-putting. However "sortition" is a term often used outside the US and is more closely associated with the democratic reform movement.

After deliberation, the committee used ranked-choice voting and "Democratic Lottery (Sortition)" was the top vote getter. The Board approved the following: 

Use “Democratic Lottery” and generally include “(Sortition)” or “(also called Sortition)” as the first time referenced in any DWE document/source. Afterward use “Democratic Lottery” alone.

If you usually use "sortition," please work on using "democratic lottery" when representing DWE so that we are consistent. This is also a bit of a test on whether the masses will follow a decision by a lottery-selected group (the DWE Board). DWE is a sort of laboratory to see how well it works to have everyday people selected by lottery making decisions for the common good. Do you believe that can work?

Madeline McCarren
for the Board of Directors


What is DWE all about? That’s right, everyday people having power and playing an active role in society. Well here is your chance!  DWE has several openings to help run our organization, no experience necessary for most of these, we will provide an orientation and mentoring.

The following tasks are under the Coordinating Committee. Each position will require several hours a month. For more information, contact Owen (

  • Handling information flow as we set up the Small Grants Program
  • Coordinate the Monthly Meeting: scheduling speakers that the Committee has chosen, establishing the Zoom link, recording the meeting, etc.
  • Build a national live meeting for the organization for post-COVID time--maybe next year.

We also need the following: 
  • Assistant Editor for the Newsletter, who will help with content gathering, monitoring article sources for the Round Up section, managing artwork, assembling, editing, proofing, etc. No experience necessary. Become a desktop publishing master! For more info, contact Wayne (
  • Cyber Security Consultant: advise the Webmaster on website security. If you have this expertise and are willing to make yourself available on occasion, please contact Dave Tarby (
"Love means never having to say you're sorry."

If you are perplexed by &/or want to defend the most famous line in Love Story, do I have a committee for you!

Please reach out to BYERS - yep, same Sortition Santa homie - as there is an important committee being made to determine how and to what extent the word "deliberation" is involved in Democracy Without Elections. This may even change the course of this organization. BIG STUFF.

Byers promises to make the committee worthwhile and the meetings efficient. Please contact her at:

  A Message from

“Building A New Reality” Founder Ted Wachtel 

Dear Fellow DWE Members:

I’ve been happily watching the growth and development of Democracy Without Elections and thankful to those of you who are making it happen. 
Special thanks to Owen Shaffer and Wayne Liebman who invited me to write to you this month about BANR ( and our three upcoming online events that will feature:
•DWE’s upcoming Mock Citizens’ Assembly on Citizens’ Assemblies
•News about an imminent feature-length documentary which shows, on a very personal and emotional level, why we can rely on ordinary people to save democracy.
The primary purpose of BANR is to achieve “democracy in everyday life” and provide ordinary people everywhere with “more voice, choice and shared responsibility.”
So you should not be surprised that BANR settled on citizens’ assemblies and sortition as the way forward in governance and saw fit to donate $3000 to fund DWE’s first mock citizens’ assembly.
At each of our Second Saturday events we spend about half the 75 minutes interviewing guests and the other half of the time in small group discussions.
BANR charges $10 for a ticket (search "BANR Eventbrite”) with all proceeds going to our non-profit charitable foundation.
Test Drive a Citizen’s Assembly (Sat. Jan 8, Noon to 1:15 pm ET)
At the first event we will interview Owen Shaffer and Byers who will bring us up-to-date on Democracy Without Election’s creative initiative that will give us all a chance to “test drive” a citizens’ assembly in February and March 2022.
You can experience every part of a Citizens’ Assembly except that there would be no democratic lottery (sortition) to choose participants, a final report would not be written and the experience will be more compressed. There is no lottery as folks are self-selected because they want to experience a Citizens’ Assembly from the inside. Owen and Byers will explain how you can also optionally experience being a facilitator for such an assembly.
of by for (Sat. Feb 12, Noon to 1:15 pm ET)
Adam Cronkright will update us on a new feature-length film about the participants in an online Michigan citizens’ assembly, which took place during Covid. “of by for” is the sponsoring organization that is producing the film as part of a larger campaign to replace politicians in our legislatures with ordinary citizens. Adam will share preview footage which conveys the powerful impact that the assembly had on the participants themselves. The film is expected to be released in summer 2022.
My Citizens’ Assembly Experience (Sat. Mar 12, Noon to 1:15 pm ET)
You might choose to be one of the DWE’s Mock Citizens Assembly’s participants who shares what it was like with our audience. Then we will offer everyone a chance to engage in small group discussion about what they learned and what they think.

I hope you’ll join us for these three events in the new year.
Happy holidays, Ted Wachtel



Unburden yourself.  Send articles/suggestions to:
Please submit suggested links for next month's roundup HERE.
From DWE Facebook (Nicholas Coccoma)
 What Biden's Democracy Summit is Missing

by Hélène Landemore

Equality By Lot's Yearly Review Post
Sortition in 2021
from Equality by Lot
Gauchebdo: Sortition – a false solution
(Can you spot the holes in these arguments?)
What are folks talking about on DWE slack

General: Some movie suggestions related to lotteries and elections: 
“Don’t Look Up”:  This political satire showcases everything that’s wrong with elections!
“The Best Of Enemies”: How a deliberation (which included a lottery!) was used to help resolve a difficult political situation in Durham, North Carolina in 1971. Used a type of deliberation called a “Charette”.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You may also enjoy Slay the Dragon, a documentary about Michigan's successful implementation of a redistricting commission selected by lot

Also: Slack enables private conversations between any two people in the organization! Build those lateral one on one connections!! Are you new to DWE and you have some questions? Slack is the place to get your answers and asking will help others who are new too! Join in!
How to Connect on DWE Slack
Here's a quick guide for using Slack: QUICK GUIDE.
Here's our Slack workspace invite: JOIN SLACK
Chris Forman leads the Slack Channel and can be reached at

Slack complements our existing Facebook group led by Nick Coccoma. 
Copyright ©2021 Democracy Without Elections, Quotation with attribution permitted.


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