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This month's newsletter features the following sections: Announcements, State of the Organization, Cogitations, 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. 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 "Cogitations" articles and other features to

DWE September Board Meeting

Tuesday, September 7, 6:30-7:30 PM Eastern (3:30-4:30  PM Pacific)
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 832 4349 5132, Passcode: 500304

DWE September Monthly Meeting

Sunday, September 12, 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: 881 6082 7455; Passcode: 945666

Featuring a Presentation bCharles Heckscher, PhD:
The Braver Angels Common Ground Town Hall 

Deliberate in small groups with people from all sides about a local issue? Have officials listen to what your small group agrees is important? If lots of people had a way to experience this, maybe they'd be as excited as we are about taking it further, with citizens' assemblies!  There is a way....and it's free! 

Dr. Heckscher is Distinguished Professor at Rutgers and Director of the Center for the Study of Collaboration in Work and Society. His current research includes work on the development of public conversation.

The Board of Directors unanimously adopted the following Vision and Mission Statements earlier this month. This was the culmination of several events soliciting input from Members and a number of meetings of the Directors.

Vision: A democracy led by people from all walks of life who are selected by lottery.

Mission: To engage, inform, and support people who share our vision of a better democracy.

The Board has also selected Susan Hauser to be Treasurer. Susan is a Certified Public Accountant with years of experience with non-profits. We are lucky to have her guide this aspect of the organization! Susan was in my class “Can Our Democracy Be Fixed” which focused on citizens’ assemblies and democratic lotteries at the end of the course.

We have 140 members, with the most members (13) in California. We began asking members where they lived less than a year ago, therefore we have 64 members without that information. There are probably 8 other countries that have organizations similar to ours, and there are several folks from them who have joined us to keep track of our activities. In the reverse, there are a number of us who are members of the Sortition Foundation in the United Kingdom which is the grandparent of us all!

If there are members in a state that want to communicate as a group, let me know and I will make the connection in a manner that ensures the privacy of everyone. I wonder which state will form the first Chapter of Democracy Without Elections!

Owen Shaffer, Operations Coordinator
  • We need a Cyber Security Consultant to advise the Webmaster on website security. So, if you have expertise in this area, and are willing to make yourself available on occasion, please contact Dave Tarby.

I taught a class for seniors over the summer titled “Can Our Democracy Be Fixed?” It was sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the Asheville campus of the University of North Carolina.

My goal was to introduce citizens’ assemblies and democratic lotteries at the end of the course. I wanted students to first see that other solutions do not solve the set of problems our country faces.

The first of six sessions produced a class-generated list of problems in our country, ranging from corruption to voting access. The next three sessions explored reform ideas and evaluated them against the list of problems. There were over 30 reforms including ranked choice voting, proportional representation, term limits, various gerrymandering reforms, and controls for donations to candidates like democracy vouchers. Democratic lotteries and citizens’ assemblies were not discussed during these sessions.

Week five focused on comprehensive solutions like Our Common Purpose by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Congress’ For the People Act. Citizens’ assemblies were introduced during this week.

The last week explored the use of democratic lotteries to replace elections for Congress. Terry Bouricius’ ideas about using citizens’ assemblies to remove issues from Congress was discussed. Students seemed impressed that democratic lotteries solved all election-related problems.

The class was based on six sessions for a total of nine hours, but could be adjusted to other time constraints. I have over 150 presentation slides that include all sources of information so that they can be easily updated. I’d be happy to lend the slides to individuals who wish to teach this in a similar setting or possibly convert them to other situations, a high school social studies unit for example. I’ll be teaching the class again locally, and am willing to teach it online elsewhere.  Contact me if interested:

Owen Shaffer

Are you cogitating about something for the next newsletter?
Send articles/suggestions to
Please submit suggested links for next month's roundup HERE.

Hannah Arendt Center 13th Annual Fall Conference

Thursday, October 14, 2021 – Friday, October 15, 2021

Podcast featuring Madeline McCarren and Linn Davis
Submitted by Madeline McCarren

Global Assembly

Seeking co-hosts. For info CLICK HERE
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