The mission of the Global Social Network for Voters is to empower voters worldwide to democratize, decentralize and disintermediate dysfunctional governing institutions and processes that are causing a dramatic decline in the number of fully functioning democracies around the world.
The need for the network stems from the one of the primary causes of the decline, which is the growing disconnect between the needs, priorities and demands of mainstream voters and the priorities, legislation and policies of government officials. Their actions are failing to safeguard the well-being of their constituents and protect them from extreme life-threatening risks, such as climate disruption and political violence.
Among the primary reasons for this disconnect are the obstacles that prevent mainstream voters from determining who runs for office, who gets elected, and what laws are passed. They are impeded from electing lawmakers who will protect their lives and welfare by political parties that do not allow voters to determine their legislative agendas and slates of candidates. Parties and the electoral machinery they control compel voters to choose among candidates who run on platforms over which voters have little influence, and who are largely unaccountable to voters for their legislative actions once they take office.
The result is that the priorities and resource allocations of the large majority of governments typically favor the priorities of special interests that finance the campaigns of elected officials rather than the well-being of their constituents. These allocations disproportionately support private sector interests rather than the public interest — especially by approving bloated military budgets and the use of force rather than non-violent strategies, such as diplomacy and proven mediation techniques. Disproportionate allocations to warfare underfund public welfare programs such as healthcare. They underfund effective disaster relief programs for natural and man-made humanitarian catastrophes, leading to unnecessary loss of life and injuries on an unprecedented scale, with the exception of large scale wars.
The voter-owned Global Social Network for Voters will empower voters to control government, rather than special interests and elected officials beholden to special interests. It does so by enabling voters across the ideological and partisan spectrum to join forces online to build online voting blocs, political parties and electoral coalitionsand collectively set transpartisan legislative agendas that can grow large enough electoral bases to elect candidates of their choice to enact their agendas. These blocs, parties and coalitions can act transnationally as well as nationally.
To achieve this objective, the infrastructure of the network will combine blockchain, artificial intelligence, and Web 3.o social computing technologies with the large scale collective action power of the internet.
This combination is designed to enable voters to decentralize the locus of power exercised in governments throughout the world and disintermediate the impediments inserted into electoral and legislative processes to prevent voters from controlling elections and legislation.
The network will empower voters to re-invent democracy technologically by providing them unique agenda-setting, political organizing and consensus-building tools and services through which they can exercise their civil, political and human rights. Their self-organizing voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions will be able to forge transpartisan electoral bases large enough to determine who runs for office, who gets elected, and what laws are passed.
The Global Social Network for Voters will be the world’s first large scale consensus-building and conflict-resolving platform. It will empower voters worldwide to overcome the increasing numbers of “democratic deficits” that are creating failed and failing democracies worldwide.
Specifically, the network and platform will incorporate:
- Blockchain technology to secure and protect the identity of voters worldwide, and ensure the confidentiality of their communications.
- Artificial intelligence and Web 3.0 social computing technology to facilitate collective decision-making and collective intelligence generation.
- The patented Interactive Voter Choice System to provide every voter agenda-setting and vote-casting prerogatives for participating in self-organizing voting blocs, political parties and electoral coalitions hosted on the network .
“Democratic Deficits”: Key Consequences
I. Worldwide Decline of Trust in Government
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, government “is the least trusted institution globally.” 2015 witnessed a ‘plunge of trust in government due to stalemate and perceived incapacity.’”
Lack of trust in government is particularly evident in the U.S.
“Nine in 10 Americans lack confidence in the country’s political system … there are few partisan differences in the public’s lack of faith in the political parties, the nomination process, and the branches of government.” AP-NORC
II. Worldwide Decline of Democracy
“The number of ‘full democracies’ is low, at only 20 countries, comprising only 8.9% of the world population. 59 countries are rated as ‘flawed democracies’, comprising 39.5% of the world population. Of the remaining 88 countries … 51 are ‘authoritarian’, comprising 34.1% of the world population; and 37 are considered to be ‘hybrid regimes’, comprising 17.5% of the world population.”
III. Worldwide Spread of Political Violence
Concomitant to the lost of trust in government and the decline of democracy around the world is the global spread of socio-political unrest and political violence.
According to the 2015 Global Peace Index of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), there has been an historic decline in world peace during the past decade, with only 10 countries in the world that are free of conflict.
The total number of conflicts rose sharply from 31 in 2010 to 40 in 2014. Terrorism is at an all time high, with all but two regions recording an increase over the past decade. Battle deaths from conflicts are at a 25 year high.
According to the IEP, the links between democratic governance failures, political conflicts and political violence have been identified in research conducted by the World Bank and others. This research indicates that “the risk of conflict is higher in countries where the government tends to infringe on the fundamental rights of its citizens.” These countries and governments are deficient in the rule of law, political rights and civil liberties, and honest elections.
IV. Increased Civilian Vulnerability
The number of people caught in the crossfires of violent conflicts and extreme weather are leading to increased deaths and injuries, as well as loss of sustainable habitats, livelihoods and property.
Growing risks to human survivability are reported in research conducted by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) showing that in 2015 alone, 27.8 million people in 127 countries were displaced by conflicts, violence and disasters.
By mid-2017, the number of displaced persons was fast approaching 100 million, including those displaced internally within their home countries as well as externally across the borders from their home countries.
Unfortunately, civilian vulnerability to political violence and climate destruction is causally linked to vulnerability to malnourishment and starvation. The United Nations reports in “World hunger again on the rise, driven by conflict and climate change” that 815 million people in the world are “chronically undernourished.”
“Democratic Deficits”: Key Types and Causes
“Democratic deficits” associated with these threats to humanity’s survivability include the following:
- Political parties, politicians’, and elected representatives that subordinate their constituents’ needs and demands to those of special interests that finance their electoral campaigns in order to sway their legislative priorities and votes..
- Interference by political parties in the exercise of voters’ sovereignty in elections by restricting their roles in determining: a) the legislative agendas of parties and their candidates, b) parties’ slates of candidates placed on party election ballots, and c) how elected party representatives vote once they are in office. Voters are compelled to choose among electoral candidates who run on platforms and agendas over which voters have little influence, and who are unaccountable to voters for their legislative actions once they are in office..
- Efforts by election officials, political parties and special interests to to deny and suppress voting rights, especially by a) refusing to provide authentication documents to eligible voters and by requiring voters to submit authentication documents that are difficult to obtain, and b) through electronic voting technology that i) tampers with voter registration files in order to prevent voters from voting, ii) falsifies the tallies of votes cast, and iii) uses falsified tallies of votes cast to legitimize the election of officials who did not actually win elections.
- Political parties, candidates and elected representatives that engage in divisive political controversies and conflicts, often of an ideological nature, in order to increase their political influence and divide voters into hostile camps in order to win elections — including inciting conflicts within and between diverse groups inside and outside the country..
- Deliberate distortion of facts and issues by political parties, special interests and the media in order to mislead and confuse the public and prevent voters from framing debates and legislative priorities to reflect their actual needs, priorities, and demands..
- Large corporate-controlled social media platforms that permit anonymous posting of fake political news and propaganda aimed at confusing and misleading social media users to inflame and polarize voters and influence the outcomes of elections.
- Growing overall disconnect between voters’ needs, priorities and demands and actions of legislative, executive, and judicial decision-makers, especially decisions that favor the priorities of special interests instead of the priorities of their constituents.
- Political parties and their elected representatives that do not take action to provide their constituents access to their written legislative proposals or solicit their input and approval; parties and representatives that use complicated, obscure and often incomprehensible processes to enact legislation, and do not systematically inform their constituents of their actions for and against proposals and final votes on enacted legislation that affects their constituents.
- Lack of effective and scalable consensus-building and conflict-resolving mechanisms that are available to voters and government decision-makers and facilitate efforts to reconcile political disagreements and conflicts into workable legislation and public policies.
- Increasing legislative gridlocks and paralysis resulting from unresolved disagreements and conflicts between political parties and their elected representatives, many of which are contrived by political parties and politicians to obtain political and electoral advantages.
- Political parties, party-backed candidates, and elected party representatives that do not receive a majority of votes cast in elections but nonetheless proceed to form minority governments without eliciting majority support, and then proceed to adopt and enact legislative agendas that diverge from the priorities, needs, and demands of mainstream voters..
- “Managed democracies” in which government officials attempt to censor, undermine and suppress anti-government protests and confrontations between the public and police, in violation of universal rights to freedom of speech and assembly, etc.; clandestine interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and surreptitious support aimed at mobilizing internal groups working to undermine existing governments.
- Increasing extra-legal actions and political violence that arise from democratic governance failures, including a) voters’ inability to use electoral and legislative processes to meet their needs and demands, b) unresponsive, democratically unaccountable government decision-makers, c) the propensity of undemocratic governments to use violent methods to resolve conflicts.
- Governments that refuse to use proven non-violent conflict resolution methods, such as diplomacy and third-party mediation techniques, to halt the escalation and global spread of violent transnational conflicts among nation-states. and between nation-states and non-state groups, which trap innocent civilians in their crossfire; heads of state and government officials who use intimidation tactics and threats to use military force to silence and defeat real and imagined adversaries.
- Failure of unresponsive and democratically unaccountable governments beholden to special interests to devise effective policies to surmount the life-threatening risks posed by climate destruction.
How the Network Will Surmount “Democratic Deficits”
The technological infrastructure of the Global Social Network for Voters will empower voters to surmount these challenges in the following ways:
I. The agenda setting, political organizing and consensus- building tools and services of the Interactive Voter Choice System will enable voters to build voting blocs, political parties and electoral coalitions large enough to win elections — without financing by special interests seeking to sway electoral outcomes and legislative enactments in ways that benefit special interests rather than the public interest.
The system was invented by the Swiss founder of Re-Invent Democracy International and patented by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A companion technology, the System for Playing an Interactive Voter Choice Game, also patented by the USPTO, is a multi-party game of electoral strategy designed to accelerate players’ learning curves for using the Interactive Voter Choice System.
II. Artificial Intelligence and Web 3.0 social computing and collective intelligence generating technology will enable large numbers of voters to build consensus across ideological and partisan lines and collectively devise, discuss, debate, vote on, enact and implement legislative policies and programs.
III. Blockchain technology will protect voters’ identity and confidentiality of their communications while providing a firm basis by which voter-controlled voting blocs, political parties and electoral coalitions can determine their voting strength.
Radical Transformation of Political Parties
A fundamental root cause of the “democratic deficits” listed above are traditional political parties in combination with party-backed politicians, candidates, officeholders, and the special interests that finance their electoral campaigns in order to buy the votes of elected officials and legislators.
These parties, politicians and special interests are able to control elections and legislation by implementing a variety of mechanisms that limit the power and influence of voters at the grassroots.
These mechanisms reduce voters to ghost-like apparitions trapped inside electoral machines controlled by political parties, politicians and special interests. They use elections to compel voters to transfer voters’ sovereignty to unaccountable elected and appointed officials who are free to pass laws that disregard voters’ actual needs, wants and demands.
First and foremost among these mechanisms is the refusal of the large majority of political parties to allow voters to set their legislative agendas and decide who will run on party tickets on election ballots. The result of this refusal is that voters are compelled to choose among candidates who are already on the ballot, have adopted legislative agendas over which voters have little influence, and will pass laws that disregard voters’ needs and priorities.
While the blatant interference by parties and politicians with the exercise of popular sovereignty is among the most harmful consequences of the implementation of mechanisms that cripple democratic institutions and processes, this interference is among the challenges that are most easily surmounted by the technology of the Global Social Network for Voters and the democratizing tools and services it provides voters worldwide.
Given the entrenchment of undemocratic political parties, it is clear that crippled democratic institutions and processes cannot easily be changed in the near term using traditional reform mechanisms.
These difficulties make it increasingly unlikely that effective governmental responses to life-threatening global risks to the planet’s sustainability and the spread of armed conflicts will be formulated and implemented before irreversible “tipping points” are reached.
The core technological component of the network, the Interactive Voter Choice System (U.S. Patent No. 7,953,628), is quite possibly the only solution to the myriad causes of failed and failing democracies and the cascade of dire threats and consequences they are engendering. The network and system empowers voters to institute democratically-controlled elections and legislation in the near-term, directed from the “bottom up” by the people that governments must serve, rather than from the “top down” by democratically unaccountable political parties, politicians, lawmakers and special interests.
It enables voters worldwide, across the ideological and political spectrum, to collaborate online to democratically and consensually gain control of electoral and legislative processes — and use them to ensure that governments effectively and equitably protect the lives and well-being of all their constituents.
This technology, however, does not require changes in the way actual electoral and legislative processes are conducted, nor governmental approval of the technology. It is not an “e-voting” application such as those designed for actual elections. What it provides is an online consensus-building “common ground”, accessible via the World Wide Web, through which voters around the world can join forces to individually and collectively set common legislative agendas, and strategize about how to get their agendas implemented legislatively at decision-making levels and locales of their choice.
Similar to Facebook’s social network, which connects 1 billion friends and family members per day, the Company’s network will connect voters worldwide to each other for the purpose of controlling their governments to ensure they protect the lives and well-being of all their constituents.
It combines the large scale collective action power of the Internet with transpartisan political consensus building tools that empower voters across the spectrum to connect to each other online to build broad-based consensus around collectively set transpartisan legislative agendas. It enables them to adopt common transpartisan slates of electoral candidates and build transpartisan electoral bases large enough to elect them.
Currently, no political party or government has created a mechanism that enables unlimited numbers of voters to define, share, update, collectively reconcile, and publicize their legislative priorities.
Electorates have grown so large and so diverse that their priorities across the board are unknown, creating severe impediments to democratic governance by elected representatives. Not only are many parties and politicians reluctant to collect such information, as it might tie their hands legislatively, but even if they were not reluctant, they do not have systematic, publicly available mechanisms that enable voters to define their priorities across the board, reconcile them consensually and collectively into common legislative agendas, and nominate representatives of their choice to enact them.
It is the lack of such mechanisms and voter-defined priorities that enables lawmakers elected through undemocratic institutions and processes to claim that their legislative acts are in response to the demands of their constituents — even though they do not know what their constituents’ priorities are, across the board, and voters have no way of articulating and publicizing them. The result is that small numbers of elected representatives enact and implement legislation in the name of large numbers of virtually powerless voters who lack effective mechanisms for controlling the elections through which they gain office, or their legislative actions once they are in office.
Of pivotal significance is the fact that the Global Social Network for Voters will enable voters worldwide to devise and implement legislation not only in their home countries, but also beyond their borders by forming transnational, voter-controlled voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions that can act domestically and transnationally simultaneously. These organizations can create homologue organizations at the nation-state level that can influence domestic electoral and legislative processes and their outcomes. Most importantly, they can decide how and by whom their countries will be represented in these organizations and the agendas they pursue.
At the present time, there are no similar mechanisms capable of empowering voters worldwide to devise peace plans to end transnational conflicts and policies to end climate destruction, and implement their plans and policies by electing government officials of their choice mandated to enact them.
Voting Blocs, Political Parties, and Electoral Coalitions
The tools and services provided by the Global Social Network for Voters empower voters worldwide to simulateneously gain control of both elections and legislation by building voter-controlled online voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions (BPCs) around common legislative agendas to elect lawmakers of their choice.
BPCs blend direct democracy with representative democracy by formulating laws of their own and using their BPCs and BPC legislative agendas to direct the legislative actions of the representatives they elect, including using the network’s voting utility to vote on referenda, initiatives, petitions and recall votes. They can publish the results and use them to pressure their representatives to adhere to their agendas.
Significantly, they will be able to join forces online to collectively mandate the enactment of virtually unlimited numbers of laws that are logically and coherently interconnected — unlike typical legislative enactments that consist of sequences of disconnected laws that often contradict each other.
The voter-controlled, online political organizations they create to bring about this paradigm shift in how legislative priorities are set differ from traditional blocs, parties and coalitions that voters do not control because they interconnect voters across ideological and partisan lines to forge collective consensus around common transpartisan legislative agendas.
Unlike traditional BPCs that divide voters ideologically, the members of these new organizations will be motivated to unite voters around transpartisan agendas in order to create transpartisan electoral bases large enough to elect representatives of their choice to enact their agendas. BPCs that fail to reach out to voters across the ideological and political spectrum are unlikely to grow large enough to win elections.
BPCS will develop unprecedented “collective intelligence” and collective decision-making capabilities by bringing large numbers of well-informed voters into all stages of legislative processes, to supplement and surpass the small numbers of often ill-informed, biased and conflict-producing legislators who make decisions for entire electorates.
They will be the engines for the development of the ever increasing capacity of the world’s electorates as a whole to interconnect to each other to collectively devise solutions to present and future threats to the planet’s sustainability and humanity’s survivability — and elect representatives to enact them.
In addition to these key attributes, BPCs have the following capabilities:
- They can operate domestically, within nation-states, as well as transnationally, across borders. A single BPC can devise solutions to problems, crises and conflicts anywhere, at any level. Members of transnational BPCs can create domestic BPCs in order to mobilize mainstream voters in specific countries to elect lawmakers to enact transnational BPC agendas, addressing any domestic, transnational and global problems, crises and conflicts they wish.
- BPCs can interconnect mainstream voters with non-voters within single countries across ideological and partisan lines, as well as with displaced persons, refugees, and migrants residing inside and outside their borders. They can exchange views and build consensus around collectively set agendas for enacting legislation within a specific nation-state addressing issues of their choice.
- They can devise and enact solutions to threats to their welfare that they feel have been ignored or inappropriately addressed by incumbent lawmakers, such as the devastating effects of disruptive climate change, the global spread of asymmetric warfare between nation-state and non-state actors, global pandemics, etc.
- Consensus-building BPCs can engage in internal institution building by changing laws, regulations and rules affecting electoral processes that determine who can run for office, who gets elected, and what laws are passed. They can direct the representatives they elect to overturn restrictive and unfair voting laws and enact legislation that prevents vote rigging and vote suppression.
- BPC members can hold lawmakers accountable at the polls by defeating them if think they have failed to exert their best efforts to enact BPC agendas. They can also remove corrupt lawmakers and uses their BPCs to supplant political parties corrupted by special interests.
- BPCs can diminish the influence of biased mass media by compiling, sharing, evaluating and interpreting alternative sources of information, and using their own curated information to circumvent political disinformation designed to confuse voters and interfere with their understanding of political issues and grasp of the full range of possible legislative options and configurations that best serve their interests.
- Electoral candidates, incumbent lawmakers and traditional BPCs that wish to build a winning base of popular electoral support, in which they collaborate with present and future supporters to set and enact common legislative agendas, can also use the Company’s Global Social Network for Voters. They can do so individually and independently, or collaborate through their own political organizations with voter-controlled BPCs through coalitions they conjointly agree to create and manage.
- Similarly, civil society organizations, issue groups, associations, and unions, for example, can also use the network to build BPCs independently and/or collaboratively. By building large transpartisan electoral bases, all democracy stakeholders using the network can elect representatives of their choice without campaign financing by special interests that later dictate representatives’ legislative actions after they are elected. Lawmakers will be able to concentrate on legislating rather than fund-raising, and on implementing the agendas of their constituents rather than the agendas of special interests.
Given the lack of internal levers by which voters can reform failed and failing democracies, Re-Invent Democracy International and the Interactive Voter Choice System provide a universal, near-term technological solution by which voters can re-invent democratically unaccountable governments.
This 21st century web-based technology, which enables voters to blend direct and representative forms of democracy, can be implemented by citizens and voters autonomously online without changing existing laws.
The technology will enable large numbers of well-informed, consensus-building citizens to replace the small numbers of conflict-producing, politically polarizing political parties and lawmakers that typically ignore voters’ priorities in favor of their own preferences — and those of special interests that finance their electoral campaigns.
It is the next step in the technological evolution of government “by and for the people”. Voluminous research has demonstrated unequivocally that large numbers of people make better decisions than small numbers of people, especially in large complex systems such as governments.
The Global Social Network for Voters empowers virtually unlimited numbers of citizens to make better decisions and formulate better laws than the small numbers of lawmakers who far too often make ill-conceived decisions and enact laws opposed to the needs, wants, and demands of their constituents.
Flow Chart of the Network