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This month's newsletter features the following sections: Announcements, Member Spotlight, Ideas to Consider, State of the Organization, 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 "Ideas to Consider" articles and other features to the Editor

DWE April Meeting

The next Monthly Meeting is 9:00 PM Eastern (6:00 PM Pacific) on Tuesday, April 13.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 839 2377 6241
Passcode: 666430
Featuring a presentation by Terry Bouricius:
The use of democratic lotteries in civil society

In order to build momentum for governmental reform, more people need to become familiar with the concept of democratic lotteries and see them work in a "proof of concept." Democratic lotteries can play an important role in co-ops, unions, condo associations, indeed any large scale membership organization that seeks to function democratically. Terry will discuss the dangers of poor design, and helpful design of democratic lotteries in voluntary associations.

DWE April Board Meeting

The next DWE Board meeting is Monday, April 5 at 5:00 PM Eastern (2:00 PM Pacific). All members are welcome. Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 865 2666 2787
Passcode: 736691

Democratic lottery selection for the Board of Directors


Meeting on Sunday, April 11, 2021 04:00 PM Eastern Time.
Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 878 6332 0388
Passcode: 978882

We Practice What We Preach

One of the principles underlying our organization is that we use a lottery to select our Board of Directors. Folks who serve as Directors generally serve staggered 18 month terms, so we hold a democratic lottery to replace those who are leaving.

Both our organization and our Board should be representative of America. Females, however, are significantly underrepresented in the organization and none are on the Board. To address this, the Board has created a Gender Committee to examine solutions for the organization and decided that a priority would be given to females in the upcoming lottery.

Owen Shaffer long with 2 departing Directors will run the lottery and follow the same format as the first. Owen and the outgoing Directors are not eligible to be a Director so will not be entered into the lottery.


Building a New Reality

Ted Wachtel has spent a lifetime exploring new approaches to making a better world. In 1977 he and his wife Susan founded the Community Service Foundation which operates alternative schools that utilize the Toughlove approach to helping troubled teens. In fact, Ted is a coauthor of of the book Toughlove.

Two decades later he founded and served as president of the International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School. Restorative practices hypothesizes that “people are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in behavior when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them.”
Restorative practices gets even closer to what is near and dear to us. It shows that “participatory learning and decision-making” work better than “top-down hierarchical decision-making.” And Ted drives it home in his 2020 book, True Representation: How Citizen Assemblies and Sortition Will Save Democracy.

In 2015 Ted founded Building a New Reality, a global learning community advocating for democracy in all aspects of everyday life. The organization sponsors a monthly Zoom meeting, and the March meeting included a presentation by Owen Shaffer on Democracy Without Elections. The next event is April 10 at 12 pm Eastern and titled, “The Deficit Myth and the Temptation to Just Print Money.” To join the event, click here.

I've recently been urging legislators in my home state to write a bill to implement the CIR (Citizens' Initiative Review) process to make our ballot proposition system more democratic. We have two parties in our state, and generally, one (the majority) has been more receptive to such a bill than the other. This reflects the national situation where one major political party seems at least overtly supportive of democratic reform, whereas the other, not so much. This state of affairs contrasts with polls that show the idea of democratic lotteries to be popular with both conservatives and progressives.  Of course we need to be building a cross-ideological grassroots coalition to give democratic lotteries a place in government. But what about the existing political parties holding power? Currently they make the laws. Do we try to work with them or do we ignore them?

Suppose I continue to have no luck with minority party legislators and we get a CIR bill in my state, and suppose it's entirely supported by the majority party and not the minority party. This is not a hypothetical. There is a real possibility that such a bill could pass the legislature and become law. But is it worth it? Or will a CIR law supported by only one party, even if the majority party, paint the sortition movement as partisan? Is a one-party supported CIR worse than no CIR? Should we not be working with the legislature at all, but rather using the initiative process in  our attempts to make change?

What do you think? Email your responses and we'll publish them next time.

-- Wayne Liebman

Do you have an idea to consider for the next newsletter? Send HERE.
We are growing! We have 45 people who have given us their email address, name, town, and so on, and an additional 77 of whom we only have email address. We need complete information on those 77 so that we can, for example, connect people who live close to each other. You can ensure we have your information by completing  this form.

Securing nonprofit status with the IRS is underway and completion is several months in the future.

The board has designated two Officer positions that cannot be filled with Board Directors. I am Operations Coordinator and the Treasurer position is unfilled. If you are a CPA or have a strong accounting background, please consider applying for the Treasurer position by contacting me!

About 25% of our membership are women. The Board has appointed a Gender Committee to explore ways to attract and retain women. One of the suggestions that came out of the first meeting was a different way to introduce new members to the organization. A Mixer using Zoom Breakout Rooms for newbies and anyone else interested in joining in will occur 30 minutes before the start of the next Monthly Meeting. Join us!

The Coordinating Committee is drafting a set of Bylaws and started considering a Vision statement which is one step in connecting the Mission Statement with the actual programs we offer (think Interest Groups, this Newsletter and our Monthly Meetings). The Board will eventually work from these drafts and build the final versions.

The Outreach Committee has selected a new Logo based on three submissions; it is at the top of our Newsletter! The outer circles represent people in, for example, the United States and the inner circle represents those lottery-selected for a citizens’ assembly or to serve in Congress. The various colored circles represent the diversity of the people. The idea was originated by Terry Bouricius and developed by Rich Brown.

I appreciate what each of you do to improve the world via democratic lotteries!

Owen Shaffer, Operations Coordinator


suggested by John Huang

Extinction Rebellion is the British equivalent of the Sunrise Movement. They have three demands: 1) Government must tell the truth about climate change; 2) Government must act now to reduct greenhouse emissions to zero by 2025; 3) Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
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