A candidate for office in Colorado has pledged to vote on each issue however the majority of his constituents vote via the Parti.Vote app if he’s elected ushering in a new era in American politics that will give citizens more control over the policies impacting their communities.
This constituent crowd-sourcing technology has the potential to radically change how elected officials perform their duties, and Camilo Casas says that if he’s elected to the city council in Boulder, Colorado this November, he won’t make voting decisions on his own. Instead he’ll vote according to what the majority of the constituents he represents say they want.
With the voting power in the hands of the people, democracy may become much more liquid and could dramatically change American politics if implemented more broadly by elected officials.
Casas built the Parti.Vote app himself, and says he designed it specifically to facilitate a liquid democracy. His hope is that citizens will be empowered to directly impact policy-making by voting in the app rather than simply hoping their elected official will vote in their best interests.
If Casas is elected, his constituents will sign-up for the app online, then citizens will vote on issues in the app and Casas will then vote according to how people responded in the app. As an example, if more than 50% of citizens vote “yes” on a particular issue, Casas will vote “yes” regardless of his personal stance on the issue. Only when the polling resulted in a tie would he then vote based on his own beliefs.
To prevent fraud, Casas’ team will vet all sign-ups to the Parti.Vote app agains the Colorado Secretary of State’s publicly available voter rolls. In the future, Casas wants to utilize biometrics for verification, possibly using something similar to Apple’s Face ID technology.
His hope is that by handing his power as an elected official over to the people, they’ll be able to crease a democracy that is more equitable than what we currently have in the U.S.
“I personnel am convinced that when you have to lobby a constituency rather than an elected office, you will on average get more democratic and consensual outcomes,” Casas told Motherboard.
Before the advent of the internet, having every citizen vote on every single issue was far too cumbersome. But with the rise of internet-connected smartphones, citizens now have the power to voice their opinions on issues in the palm of their hand and a few finger taps.
Now, according to Motherboard, “advocates of liquid democracies argue tech can be used to make democratic systems actually represent the will of the people,” and that the “idea has gained traction in Europe, South America, and elsewhere.”
But a more liquid democracy doesn’t necessarily it will be more fair and there are good reasons for not everything to be voted on by citizens as minority rights could be trampled. So even with voting power handed over to citizens, elected representatives still have an obligation to come to an informed, deliberate, and inclusive decision.
There’s also the question of fairness considering not every citizen has a smartphone, and thus, access to the Parti.Vote app.
Nevertheless, Casas says that the app is designed to make the U.S.’s representative system more equitable. The hope is that if politicians commit to voting as their people would have them vote, they will be less susceptible to the desires of big business, special interest groups, or deep-pocketed donors.
Casas doesn’t expect to win, saying “It’s rather unlikely.” However, his real goal is to convince other politicians to adopt the Parti.Vote platform and make voting decisions based on what the citizens they represent want.