The Liquid Blog

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We believe our democracy could serve us exponentially better.

Liquid democracy is a 21st-century innovation for democratic decision making. It blends the best of direct and representative systems into an authentic and practical combination.

Direct democracy is when everyone can vote on legislation. It’s Lincoln’s “government by the people”, with equal voices.

Its history goes back to ancient Athens, and inspired the Founding Fathers to create the United States.

But direct democracy is not always practical: how does everyone stay educated and up-to-date on everything?

Two hundred years ago, it wasn’t possible. Even today, we live busy lives, and there’s just too much to keep up with.

And so our current solution is to elect dedicated political representatives. Instead of expecting everyone to know the ins-and-outs of policy, we give the work to a small number of legislators: 535 in our country of 300 million.

This helps with our issue of not enough time to stay informed, but introduces new problems:

  1. We may disagree with our choices of candidates, who don’t always match our views.
  2. We may feel trapped by a polarizing two-party system.
  3. And perhaps worst of all, elected politicians become huge targets for corruption. (The President explained how.)

Liquid democracy can solve all three.

How does it work?

Direct Voting

Every person can vote for or against every piece of legislation.

Instead of calling your reps to ask them to vote your way, you can do it yourself.

Delegation

You can delegate to trusted representatives to vote when you’re not able to.

Unlike an electoral system, these are personal representatives.

Any time you don’t vote on a piece of legislation, the liquid democracy platform looks up how your personal representatives voted and adopts their position.

You can select any legal resident of your jurisdiction. The people you already know and trust, and many more wise individuals, suddenly become options to represent you.

Click here for an interactive delegation demo

A Network of Trust

In a liquid democracy, voting power passes transitively, from one person to the next. This means that if you pick your close friend John, and he delegates to his smart coworker Alex, Alex can vote for all three of you.

This allows for a network of much closer connections, rewarding the most trusted people.

Your reps don’t need to vote on everything, because they have their own trusted representatives. Each step makes the network smarter, until it reaches someone who feels informed enough about the issue to vote.

This is the key innovation. Networks flourish at scale.

No More Elections, More Accountability

With a liquid democratic legislature, you no longer need elections.

Right now, we run massive elections to take the pulse of the electorate. These are supposed to keep politicians accountable.

But in liquid democracy, you don’t have to wait. You can remove a personal representative at any time, for immediate accountability.

If it’s your voice, why must you give it up for 4 years?

Proportional Representation

Currently, a candidate only has to get 51% of the vote, but they go to the legislature to represent 100% of the electorate.

These winner-take-all elections entrench a two-party landscape.

But in liquid democracy, when 51% of voters choose the same delegate, exactly 51% of the voting power flows to them. And alternative candidates keep a voice proportional to their supporters.


Now what?

By adopting liquid democracy, we can empower our most trustworthy leaders, give ourselves true choice and accountability, and transform our politics and society.

We’re creating technology to allow liquid democracy at the local, state, and national level. And we can do it without any legal changes like constitutional amendments.

But we need you. Join us. Sign up to show your support and find out more: https://liquid.vote.

Edited by Jared Scheib. Thanks to Rohan Dixit, Alex Pack, Luke Davis, Andy Coenen, Teresa Yung, Eshan Kejriwal, Matt Conrad, Nick Sippl-Swezey, Naomi Njugi, and Ryan Atkinson.

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David Ernst


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