What structure do I look for in a democracy?

  1. representatives elected by the people, so that people do not carry the burden of direct democracy for everything
  2. strong accountability of representatives to limit abusive power dynamics

(2) is sometimes informally referred to as consent of the governed, but many modern democracies do not explicitly ask for consent from citizens. I want to build reusable voting systems that explicitly use citizen consent, but in a non-invasive way.

Swiss Direct Democracy

The Swiss government rules allow the people to directly block legislature by collecting a threshold of signatures from citizens. Citizens can also propose initiatives (petitions) which can pass with enough citizen support. More details here, this is a fascinating rabbit hole!


Our governance architecture isn’t finished. Things I want but haven’t implemented include

  • leadership selection voting via Borda Count
  • sortition aka random leadership selection
  • threshold of signatures collected to trigger a vote to revoke leadership and select a new leader

The first two bullets provide ways of selecting a representative and the last bullet describes a mechanism for enforcing accountability in the context of power abuse. The core idea is Revocable Representative Democracy such that representation is held directly accountable to the extent that their leadership can be revoked with enough support.

A less extreme outcome might be just vetoing specific actions by the representative with enough group support (like the Swiss system).

Sunshine is still a voting library so it would be nice to add a configuration that supports enforced term limits without the aforementioned revocability. Enforced term limits are probably more palatable due to common usage in existing governance systems.