Elections

Elections, Voting & Governing

Putting dem[1] back in democracy.

To complement the more natural and democratic structure of multi layer representation it is also necessary to improve the electoral and government processes. The objective is to improve the quality of the leadership that our democracies produce and, beyond bringing control over people’s lives closer to them, it is important to open the field of representation so that a broader set of views are presented and a broader spectrum of the citizenry’s opinions are expressed.
The standards set out here for the election process apply to every level of elected government from the Community to the World.

Campaigns

The process by which elections are conducted is an area in which we can learn a lot from how our fledgling democracies have evolved over recent centuries. It is in the election and campaigning process that we can see the most egregious flaws emerge to pollute the ideals of representative democracy.

The trick is to accommodate two valid needs at the same time:

  • The right of anyone to promote their own view and support those that share their view
  • The need to have representatives that are not beholden to any special interest

Media Access

lifecrstw200The main reason that money becomes a factor in election campaigns is because of the media exposure it buys and that is where it is most effective to intervene. All recognized candidates (see Voting below) for any election should be availed of equal access to mass media and all candidates barred from acquiring any additional time/space on that same media. Political advertising on mass media to be banned other than during the campaign period.

Campaign Funding

Individuals can be allowed to contribute to their preferred candidates as they see fit but there should not be any funds or resources provided by any one other than individual citizens who are constituents of elected body.

Candidate Qualification

No candidates should be allowed to stand that are not themselves constituents of the same constituency for which they are standing. No prospect with any ownership interest in any mass media is allowed to stand as a candidate nor is any elected representative allowed to hold any ownership of any mass media while serving in office.
Registered Candidates
All candidates stand for election to an assembly through an open self-nomination process.
Candidates that obtain petitionary support from more than 1 in 200 of the population are “recognized candidates” for the purposes of public campaign funding. The Electoral Commission should provide facilities for electronic petitions, especially in State and larger constituencies.

Candidate registration closes after 50% of the campaign period has passed.

Legislative pause

Any law passed by the assembly during a campaign shall become some time effective after the election results have been determined, giving the newly elected assembly the ability to rescind them before they become into effect.

Campaign Length

Campaigns are restricted to the period between {30 days x Term of Office in years} days, and 2 days before the election date.

For more information on the LIFE multi-layer system of representation, see Multi Layer Representation.

Voting

In order to promote representative government that accurately reflects the will of the people, LIFE proposes a proportional representation system of voting using a Single Transferable Vote. The same system applies to all layers and is designed to be easily understood and recognizable by citizens as empowering their choices.

Seats

In any given layer there are assemblies for the government of each constituency. Each assembly has a number of available seats derived using the formula: a minimum of seven and a maximum of the population/ratio.

Constituency Ratios

 

Constituency Approx Population Representative Ratio Term (Years) Campaign Length (days)
Community 10,000 1:1,000 3 90
Region 10,000,000 1:100,000 4 120
State 100,000,000 1:1,000,000 5 150
Trans-Territory 1,000,000,000 1:10,000,000 6 180
World 1:100,000,000 7 210

 

Casting Votes

life-pr-examplesBetween 30 days before the election date and the day of the election, all voters cast a vote that allows them to specify 1st and 2nd choices from the available candidates for a seat in the assembly.

Tallying Results

Candidates with sufficient 1st choice votes to qualify by passing the quota, defined as the half the total votes divided by the number of seats available, are duly elected, in order of the number of 1st choice votes received. The percentage of the vote required to pass the quota varies depending on the population of the constituency compared to the standard ratio for its size, resulting in up to 7% for small populations but more normally 0.5%.
The votes for the lowest scoring, non-qualifying candidate are reassigned to those voters’ 2nd choices until all representative positions are filled, using the same quota but accounting for both 1st and 2nd choices.

life-pr-rsexamplesIf there are remaining unfilled positions using the quota then those seats are left unfilled, so long as the minimum representative quantity of 3 has been met. If the minimum number of 3 is not met then further elections must be held again one month later and then every three months.

The remaining votes for unqualified candidates are assigned to their 2nd choice candidates, if those candidates have been elected.

This is effectively proportional representation using the Single Transferable Vote system with a Hare quota, except that candidates are not competing for a single available seat.

The only voters who do not actively affect the outcome are those who choose both 1st and 2nd choice candidates that do not reach the quota.

Post-election changes

If an elected representative is disqualified or becomes unable to serve during their term and their vote count portion is greater than the total vote divided by the number of filled seats, or if there only 3 filled seats, then an election shall be held. This provision is cumulative.

Assembly

Voting in Assembly

In order to provide for the proportional representation of the voters, each representative in an assembly will vote with the weight of their vote count (including both 1st choice and reallocated 2nd choice votes) in matters before the assembly.
A quorum is reached when the assembly has representatives present when have a combined vote weight of 75% of the total votes cast at the last election, less the vote count of any representative(s) who are absent for a consecutive assembly session.
It is recognized that, particularly in smaller constituencies, this could result in a single representative with effective control of the assembly. If the citizens choose to entrust such power to the hands of one or a few, sobeit.

Assembly Structure

The internal organization and structure of an assembly is ultimately formulated at the discretion of the members. However it is likely that there will be a desire to appoint individuals who can perform specific duties on behalf of the assembly (cabinet members) and to create subsets of the membership who can focus on specific policy subjects (committees).
Neither the appointment of cabinet members nor the formation of committees shall encumber the assembly in meeting and making decisions immediately upon election.

Cabinets

Cabinet positions are political roles whereby a member of the assembly is appointed to speak, attend meetings and negotiate on behalf of the assembly in a specific policy area, but not to make final decisions. All decisions must be ratified by the assembly.
There are two rules that need to be observed in the creation of cabinet posts:
– anyone appointed to a post must be a member of the assembly
– that posts are defined as specifically recognized titles supported by a majority vote of the assembly.

Committees

Assembly members may wish to create committees focused on specific policy areas and they should be free to do so at their own volition and may be joined voluntarily by any other members of the assembly who wish to.
Committees are only a mechanism for improving the efficiency and focus of the assembly and carry no constitutional significance in and of themselves.

Civil Service Interface

The assembly needs to be the highest authority in the land, within the rule of law. All civil and military services must report to and be subservient to the assembly. All management positions of those services that report directly to the assembly should serve at the will of the assembly, who may appoint replacements as they see fit.

Service Department Management

Each constituency shall arrange their services in the manner that suits them, however in most cases the following departments will assist in their organization and administration:

  • Shelter
  • Sustenance
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Transport
  • Information Services
  • Legal & Policing
  • Environment
  • External Relations
  • Finance

At the head of every service department there must be a service executive who reports directly to the assembly and serves at the pleasure of the assembly. Every executive also has a deputy that can be selected by the staff of the department or appointed by the assembly.
In the event that an executive resigns or is removed from their position, the deputy executive assumes management responsibility until such time as assembly has appointed a replacement.
If either position is left vacant for more than 30 days, it can be filled temporarily by someone selected by the staff of the department. If either position is left vacant for more than 90 days, it can be filled temporarily by a candidate supported by 40% of the assembly. Any temporary position holder is subject to immediate replacement by a candidate appointed by the majority of the assembly.

The same promotion, appointment and confirmation processes apply to judges save that judges are appointed for a minimum term of ten years subject only to their resignation or a unanimous vote of the assembly.

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