Monday, June 21, 2010


Over the last few years we have seen use of IT in the voting. We now have e-voting machines. Some people also talk about online voting and then their are tons of debates about security of such mechanisms.

Lets assume for a while that security concerns will be addressed sometime in the future. That just leaves us with the same old democracy just happening online. I think the next level of democracy should not be limited to just "automation" of the voting process. Technology can play a vital role in defining what democracy of the future looks like. Think of why we have to choose our representatives and why only once in five years? It is a technical problem. You can't have a billion people come together and sit under one roof and decide about their future. The machinery was designed to solve this very problem. family, small villages and corporate boardrooms don't have representatives, they don't need as all stake holders can fit in one room.

In next four five years everyone in India will have a mobile phone (if they don't have it already). All reality shows are doing voting using SMS to choose their top stars and making money along the way. If people can vote for their favorite starts every week, why can't they choose their representatives every week. Why can't they suspend their vote for the representative for a week and choose to participate directly in the law making.

Today many people in India will be willing to cast their vote in favor of a candidate for may be Rs 500 - Rs 1000. Since a single winner is elected per constituency, depending upon number of candidates in election, all you need is may be 10%-20% votes to get elected. For a five year term, per day cost of vote is less than a rupee.

What If:
  • Their were no elections
  • You could vote using SMS, any time of the day, week, month, year
  • You could change your vote anytime
  • You could split your vote 
  • You could loan your vote to someone who you think can better decide how you use your vote
  • If their was no parliament, everything happens over Goto-Meeting and as many people who want to participate directly or through their representatives could participate. 
Basically the whole election process becomes flexible in terms of time (duration of being a representative) and in space (number of representatives). Think of it like a stock exchange for politics. A true representative of public's political sentiments.

What do we get:
  • People who sell their vote, get a better price throughout their lives
  • People are always in control, politicians are always on toes
  • Much better participation of people. Everyone can find time to send one SMS (from anywhere)
  • The whole disconnect of "people" and "government" goes away as people are government - all the time. 
  • No need for nominations. Anyone can make anybody else their representative and let them choose their representative or participate themselves. 
  • If you want to do good for the country, convince people first

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