Democracy without Elections is a member-run 501c3 nonprofit that promotes the use of democratic lotteries. In a democratic lottery, legislatures or groups of leaders are selected by lottery from the common people.
Democracy Without Elections wants to create a government that is representative of the people. We believe that a broad cross-section of everyday Americans selected to serve for limited terms would do a better job of running the country than career politicians beholden to donors and special interests. If you are committed to the same values, we welcome you to join us.
View older news posts.
View our Newsletter Archive. This contains older newsletters emailed out to DWE members.
Moving Beyond Elections
The appointment of magistrates by lot is thought to be democratic, and the election of them oligarchic.
Deliberative experimentation has generated empirical research that refutes many of the more pessimistic claims about the citizenry’s ability to make sound judgments…. Ordinary people are capable of high-quality deliberation, especially when deliberative processes are well-arranged: when they include the provision of balanced information, expert testimony, and oversight by a facilitator.
-- Science Magazine (2019), J Dryzek, et al.
No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
The day you elect representatives is the day you lose your freedom.
—Rousseau (Social Contract, III, 15)
Because competitive elections enable discriminatory voting, favor candidates with social privileges and resources, and are vulnerable to manipulation and domination by powerful partial interests, they neither treat persons as political equals nor treat conflicts impartially. They produce assemblies composed of elites partial to elite interests and values. This is why until the eighteenth century elections were primarily associated with aristocracy. Democracy, by contrast, was primarily associated with sortition—the random selection of officers. Because sortition gives each candidate an equal prospect of being selected to office, it treats all candidates as equals. And because truly random selection is invulnerable to influence by powerful interests, it tends to produce a descriptively representative “mirror” of society rather than an assembly of elites—thereby helping to treat conflicts impartially.
-- Arash Abizadeh (2020), Professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University