Democracy 2.0 – Online voting first step towards Digital Democracy

The Scottish Government is currently running a consultation to poll citizens on their views for online voting.

While views that the IndyRef vote may have been tampered with are somewhat conspiratorial the use of Internet technologies most notably the Blockchain would put this concern to bed with finality, and much more importantly, would set in motion a wholesale transformation of democracy all together.

Blockchain Voting – Foundation for Digital Democracy

A key technology that could underpin digital voting is the Blockchain, what has been called ‘Block the Vote‘.

The Market Mogul provides an overview of the role it could play in enabling this capability including the challenges, with Venture Beat describing how it could help tackle voter fraud.

Considerable technical research has been conducted to explore this scenario, such as this analysis from Plymouth University, this paper from Bitcoin specialist Weusecoins, as well as Tufts University, and the EU has also researched the possibility.

What is especially exciting about the trend is that the scope extends much further than just facilitating the digitization of the voting method, other experts have defined how this keystone would lead to a broader evolution of democracy itself.

Alex Tapscott describes Blockchain Democracy as Government of the People, the CitizenLab describes how it could transform the face of democracy, and ethereum.org offers a guide for How to Build a Democracy on the Blockchain. This FastCompany article describes the background that led to the Democracy.Earth initiative.

Democracy 2.0: Policy-Based Politics

An example of a new democratic system making use of Blockchain technology this way is MiVote in Australia.

Although Blockchain voting is a centrepiece of the platform really what’s most powerful isn’t the technology, it is how it enables an entirely new form of democracy, most notably a shift to ‘Policy-Based Politics’. Simply put people vote for policies, not parties. They vote on issues that are personally important to them, based on reasoned arguments, not for individuals or parties to express divisive tribalism.

In this Guardian article, and this one, visionary founder Adam Jacoby “believes that offering a platform to educate voters and help them choose from a range of policy options will help break undemocratic binary options and deadlocks on issues as broad as refugee policy and the energy mix.”

Critically MiVote is totally neutral regarding the decisions made, what Jacoby calls MiVote’s “non-ideology ideology”. Votes avoid binary yes/no choices and instead engage voters into informed decisions with research provided by leading academic and other subject matter experts.

FastCompany wrote about the initiative, describing how it alerts voters to new issues raised in parliament and provides them a digital “information packet,” compiled by independent researchers, that lets them dive into a knowledge-centric approach to registering their opinion on that issue. Jacoby believes this would encourage politicians to focus on defining real solutions, rather than being predominately concerned with how their position is perceived by the public.

In short MiVote is a platform for ushering in Democracy 2.0, and Scotland is fertile ground for joining Australia in pioneering this digital revolution.

Boasting the oldest Independence declaration in the world Scotland has a long history of pioneering democratic innovations and undoubtably a people extremely passionate to be more involved in their own government and politics, ideal for this new paradigm.

So Scotland, let us join them on this world changing journey, starting by asking ourselves: “What if we had a more democratic democracy?”

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