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The E-Democracy
Institute of Santa Cruz
Bringing Power Back to the People

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Re-Imagining Local Government

When our Founding Fathers created a system of government that ushered in the “Great Experiment,” they were especially diligent about adding protections to safeguard individualism against government authoritarianism that was destined to infringe upon individual rights and freedoms. This ushered in the first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution, better known as the Bill of Rights. Among these Amendments, the 10th Amendment is uniquely different from the others. It was drafted in order to give each of the states of the union their own unique protections against Federal abuses:
        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are

        reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The 10th Amendment gave states greater independence to make their own unique decisions and to steer their own ships within the boundaries of the Constitution, thus allowing them to preserve many of their unique identities that one might think of as state individualism. Yet, the Founders were not through, adding a bicameral, federal legislature to buttress the protections of individual freedoms of small states against big state majorities in the House of Representatives. This model of government was quickly adopted at the state level as every state today operates a bicameral legislature that protects less densely populated rural regions from population-rich urban ones. Yet, as bright as this all sounds, the system has two major flaws: (1) municipal governments continue to operate unicameral legislatures  and (2) representative democracies are highly subject to special interest influences that compromise the public will.

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Unicameral Legislatures - In nearly every case, municipal governments in the United States are unicameral in nature, whereas state and federal governments are bicameral, designed to provide some leveraging power to small interests against large majorities. Unicameral systems are simply more economical and efficient to operate on small city budgets. In an attempt to overcome this weakness, municipalities have, instead, carved out sub-districts, each represented by an elected “representative,” based on similar population sizes and racial mixes. Yet, district mapping (and redistricting) has still left racial minority populations out of the dialogue, as their numbers are rarely  large enough in their respective districts to elect “one of their own,” especially when districts are proportionally assigned so they look alike to one another or, alternatively, when one or two of the district boundaries are drawn to give a minority population in the community a majority in the districts, spreading too thinly minority interests in the non-concentrated districts and having the lone representative on the city council always outvoted. Moreover, race is just one of the many other possible carve outs that is considered when establishing district boundaries. What about the interests and values of other segments of the population: women, families, renters, landlords, homeowners, those on fixed incomes, the LGBTQ++ community, students, senior citizens, religious organizations, etc? There are no protections or leveraging power offered to any of these groups. While racial and ethnic interests are at least part of the district boundary dialogue, mostly as a tool of division politics and gerrymandering, treating a racial or ethnic class as a homogeneous entity with each member sharing the same values, interests and goals, all other “minority” interests are completely ignored. Decision-making at the municipal level are those that most affect our daily lives, yet our interests take a back seat to cost, efficiency, racial politics and gerrymandering.

A Compromised Public Will - representative democracy has a fatal flaw that continues to fester and worsen today, compromising the intent and spirit that the “great experiment” has so far given to the world in a relatively brief amount time. It is highly susceptible to special interest influences that hijack the will of the people in pursuit of corporate goals and purposes, mostly tied to wealth creation, for not only themselves, but for the politicians involved in their quid pro quo arrangements.  Today, we are seeing a massively corrupt and diseased political system operating in the United States that overrides citizen voices and rigs the system in favor of the billionaires and the political elites who wield the power of government. This highly centralized cabal of powerful people and entities dictates its terms onto the common citizen who has little recourse and who is made to believe in their lies from a mutually-beneficial collusion between the government and the oligopolies in charge of our information. The entities  holding power today have worked decades to design the system to their benefit and to ensure that they remain firmly entrenched in power. E-Democracy can quickly break that hold on power by disassembling it, then handing its pieces back into the hands of the people. It will transition decision-making authorities back over to the people, inch-by-inch, so the “will of the people” is left pure, unadulterated and shielded from the special interest influencers. 

What is E-Democracy?
An E-Democracy is a nonpartisan, bicameral direct democracyTM accessible to users over the internet. The bicameral element addresses the unicameral weaknesses of municipal government entities, as noted earlier, while the direct democracy component addresses the special interest interventions that compromise the Public Will. What makes this all possible today? Technology, of course.
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What is the E-Democracy Institute?
Headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, the E-Democracy Institute is a political research and policy think tank whose primary aim is to develop and advance E-Democracy technologies and direct democratic systems for the purpose of decentralizing collectivist power structures and redistributing this misused "power of the few" back into the hands of individuals to ensure that the "will of the people" steers our local institutions. Our raison d'être lies in our foundational belief that our representative form of government is in a pervasive state of decay driven by the self-interests of political operatives and the plethora of special interest groups that have turned politicians into multi-millionaires and corporate CEO's into billionaires by rigging the system in their favor.
E-Democracy Features
Features of an E-Democracy
  • A paradigm shift in the voter-elected representative relationship

  • A software communications tool for elevating what is important to a community to its elected representatives to make voting decisions aligned to the public will.

  • New ideas are spawned by individuals like you within your particular field of interest (groups). You help to identify the problem(s) that are important and how fixing them will improve the quality of life in your community.

  • Provides each individual with equal and direct voting rights, independent of their demographic makeup (e.g. race, color, sex, gender, disability, income status, national origin, etc.

  • Nonpartisan in nature, spirit and commitment by its user community

  • Returns key decision-making authority back to community residents through consensus modeling and direct voting mechanisms to allow community members to define the problems and the priorities to fix them

  • Organizes and funnels the most important issues, positions and priorities of the community (Public Will) to the elected proxy either in the form of weighted recommendations or directives (people's conduit)

  • Deploys the Lasswell Policy Model  (e-democracy-adapted) at the individual, group and community levels (phase 1 - agenda-setting; phase 2 - policy-steering)

  • Introduces the world’s first, Bicameral Direct Democracy that protects small group interests from large majorities while adding no additional time, cost or effort to the legislative process

  • Forces elected officials to be accountable to the public will through clear directives and / or voting suggestions that are made readily accessible to the public and reports cards for how your representative voted in accordance to public directives.

  • Allows residents to steer change in their cities on their principles, values and purposes, not the one-size-fits-all policies of major political parties and special interests who dictate theirs onto residents and, in so doing, corrupt the public will

  • Creates voting opportunities for (1) organic (born inside the e-democracy) initiatives, (2) inorganic (born outside the e-democracy) policy proposals and (3) established, inorganic laws, rules, ordinances, edicts, etc. (referendums).

  • Monthly community voting (registered voters)

  • Relegates less critical, mundane and day-to-day community decisions and tasks (non-directives) to the proxy to manage in the conventional manner of a representative government (people's representative).

  • Piggybacks onto existing government infrastructure to leverage existing expertise, processes and resources

  • Offers stakeholders (e.g. local retail businesses, charities, associations, educational institutions, etc.) and registered voters the option to join and / or create groups with common interests centered around a particular area of community development

  • Offers community stakeholders the capacity to endorse or counterpoint proposed policy initiatives and referendums as input into the e-democracy voter decision.

  • Measures group and individual activity levels for motivating all system users, rewarding high-performing users and weaning off inactive users in order to maintain an efficient and robust software platform

  • Gives neighborhood group problems and issues an elevated focus

  • Eliminates the need for districts (a major weakness of unicameral municipal governments) within cities or counties, most often determined by racial composition, while it ignores all other interests--women, seniors, LGBTQ+, families, homeowners / renters, low-income / high-income, etc. within those district boundaries. An e-democracy is color-blind and focuses solely on the specific interests (missions) of groups with particular missions.

  • Creates greater and more flexible avenues of participation through a technology solution that makes e-democracy mobile, convenient, readily-accessible (24/7) and nearly cost-less.

  • Creates greater community involvement by empowering every voter and making the experience convenient.

  • Allows proxy and group leads to submit straw polls to the breadth of the e-democracy community

  • Offers group leads a channel into group opinions through custom surveys that can effectively be used to establish or revise group strategy, clarify the group mission, align group priorities, and other group-related alignments through a consensus modeling mechanism.

  • Permits the building of voter coalitions (group of groups) to expand influence through a common interest, whilst still preserving each group's independence from the other

  • Allows group mergers to remove duplication of efforts when groups have excessive overlapping of their missions and objectives

  • Allows visitor entry as a marketing tool in order to seed future user communities

  • Builds in flexible features (stubs) to allow future expansion and inter-connectivity between e-democracies across multiple districts, regions and states for resource sharing and organizing of more broadly-based voting blocks

  • Deploys an automated dispute center to allow voters to validate their e-congress votes and to make changes within 48 hours before final results are published

  • Deploys an audit trail to allow independent 3rd-parties to reconcile voter confirmations with system voting tallies to make voting fraud less likely

  • Addresses all of the former failings of direct democracies (e.g. assembly, polling, lack of expertise, lack of minority interest protections over majority rule) via mobile technology and patent-pending procedural systems.

  • Monitors and protects the 1st Amendment rights of the E-Democracy user community through the advocacy efforts of the First Amendment Rights Preservation Society, Inc, a Santa Cruz-based, 501(c)(3), nonprofit

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