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DWE NEWSLETTER OF JUNE 1, 2021

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Contents

This month's newsletter features the following sections: Announcements, State of the Organization, Ideas to Consider, 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

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Welcome to the DWE newsletter. Your feedback and input is appreciated. Please send your responses to content and relevant links to articles, papers, and reports of interest, as well as proposals for "Ideas to Consider" articles and other features to the Editor

DWE June Board Meeting


Wednesday, June 2 at 6:00 PM Eastern (3:00 PM Pacific)
 
Zoom link:

 
CLICK BUTTON BELOW TO ADD THIS MEETING TO YOUR CALENDAR
 

DWE June Monthly Meeting

 
Tuesday, June 15. 9:00-10:30 PM Eastern (6:00-7:30 PM Pacific)

Zoom link:
Featuring a Presentation by Madeline McCarren:
What is stratified random sampling/stratified lottery, and why should we care?

Democratic lotteries used to create citizens' assemblies usually use "stratification." What is stratification and why is it used? Who decides if stratification will be used and how? Does everyone really have the same chance of being selected, or are some groups favored? What are some examples of citizens' assemblies where stratification was used? What if your organization is small and doesn't have a budget for an expert to stratify for you? What can you do?
Please submit suggestions for next month's presentation HERE.
CLICK BUTTON BELOW TO ADD THIS MEETING TO YOUR CALENDAR

Speed Community

 
Tuesday, June 15. 8:30-9:00 PM Eastern (5:30-6:00 PM Pacific)


Zoom link:

 
Speed Community happens one half hour before the Monthly Meeting. Join us on Tuesday, June 15 for some fun and meet other Members in an entirely different way! It is the same Zoom link as the Monthly Meeting.
CLICK BUTTON BELOW TO ADD THIS MEETING TO YOUR CALENDAR
 
HELP WANTED

Several important positions that require a few hours a week need to be filled. Contact Owen for more information: 
 
  • We need a Webmaster to maintain our new website, and make additions and alterations in conjunction with the Coordination and Outreach Committees. Familiarity with Wordpress a plus but not required--we'll train you up. An excellent opportunity to learn vital web skills.
  • Are you an accountant or bookkeeper, or just a financial wizard? DWE is in the market for someone to set up our financial system and become our Treasurer.
 
MISSION STATEMENT UPDATE
 
 
The board would like to know which of the mission and vision statements crafted at last month's meeting resonate with you.  Please take the survey HERE. The survey is 5 minutes long and you have until Midnight (PST) on Friday 28th May to complete it.

The board will then have time to absorb and use that information before their next meeting. They will decide on a final mission and vision statement that accurately reflect the aspirations of the community as it stands today to the best of our collective knowledge.

To help you in your judgement, the survey includes definitions and examples of mission and vision statements from other organizations.

Thanks for your help.

Chris Forman

(Again, survey link HERE.)

CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED

A recent conversation with a friend about sortition illuminated for me a stumbling block in making the case for lotteries. This friend was adamantly opposed to lotteries. We argued back and forth for some time. In exasperation, I finally asked her what was so special about elections. She said, “Because elections are the mechanisms by which we the people express our wishes.” It was problematic for her that random selection allowed her no say in who would be chosen to be on a given panel.

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote of certain unalienable rights (life, liberty, etc.), arguing “. . . . that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men [sic], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . .”

By this Jefferson meant that the people give permission to their representatives to rule over them. The disconnect for most of us is that our representatives often give preference to their donors over voters, making a mockery of consent. But to argue that elections provide only the illusion of consent does not answer the concern that a randomly selected policy making body would give people no say in who’s making the rules.

One answer to the concern would be a referendum wherein voters approve the creation of a randomly selected policy-making body. The Michigan redistricting commission—a thirteen-member body selected by lot—was established by a 2018 referendum amending the state’s constitution. The commission has the power to re-draw district lines, and it was created by popular consent—60% of Michigan voters approved the amendment: they removed power from an elected group (the state legislature) and entrusted it to a group selected by lot.

The Irish Citizens' Assembly on abortion provides an inverse example--in that case, the assembly deliberated and recommended a national referendum, which took place in 2018.

If we wish to be more effective advocates for lotteries, we might keep the consent of the governed issue in mind. If it turns out to be a hidden roadblock, we have the examples of Michigan and Ireland to point to as a way that panels chosen by lot can invoke, or be invoked, with voter consent.

--Wayne Liebman


Do you have an idea to consider for the next newsletter? Send HERE.
Please submit suggested links for next month's roundup HERE.

NY TIMES PODCAST WITH DANIEL KAHNEMAN

Kahneman's discussion of "noise" in human decision making has implications for Deliberative Democracy.
 
Suggested by Chris Forman
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