TDG Banner

Tiered Indirect Elections

Tiered Democratic Governance (TDG) is a new kind of democracy. A previous article introduced the four salient features of the TDG. While working within these features, early TDG builders will still have a big arena to build their local TDG. 

This article is going to provide details of the first of these salient feature: tiered indirect elections.

In another previous article, I also explained how voters do not know much about the names on the ballots. So, how to improve the knowledge that voters have of their possible candidates? After pondering the question for some time, I came up with the TDG.

This new system has electoral neighborhoods of about 200 residents that comprise a natural geographical block, which I have called a "neighborhood." Streets, roads, natural features, and current political boundaries can delineate these neighborhoods. In these neighborhoods, there should be opportunity for neighbors to know one another—and know each other better than they know the current political candidates on today’s ballot.

During the annual election, each neighbor can vote for one of their fellow neighbors. The neighbors will usually find a capable person to represent them in government. This person will be known to at least a significant minority of neighbors, who will have been observed to have good character and capacity for governance. Each neighborhood may have several people like this—and as long as one of them is elected, the TDG is working well. 

Let me explain this in a different way. If someone gets 20 or more votes in a TDG neighborhood election, chances are that person is reasonably competent person for the job of TDG neighborhood representative. Many of today’s politicians could not pass such a test in their own neighborhood. 

The neighborhood representatives constitute the lowest tier of the TDG.

The duties of a neighborhood representative will be voluntary. I estimate about 20 hours a month. One of their jobs will be attending meetings with representatives from other neighborhoods. These neighborhoods will constitute a district. In these meetings, the neighborhood representatives will be getting to know their fellow neighborhood representatives. They should be looking for “good character and capacity for governance” within their district. In time, these neighborhood representatives will be voting, from amongst themselves, for the position of district representative.

The neighbors themselves do not vote for the district representative. “Why?” you might ask. Because the neighbors do not know the neighborhood representatives well enough to cast a wise vote. They might know their own neighborhood representative, but they probably won’t know much about the other neighborhood representatives. Is their neighborhood representative more or less capable than the other neighborhood representatives? The neighbors won’t know because they have not seen the other representatives in action.

The neighborhood representatives will be in a much better position to who know is capable. They will be working with each other, seeing how each of them conducts themselves in a meeting. The neighborhood representatives can cast a wiser vote at the district level than the rank-and-file TDG members.

So, think about this! In each district, the neighborhood representatives will be from “among the best” in their neighborhood to be the neighborhood representative. These capable people will be working together and learning about one another. Then these “from among the best” will be voting to send one of them to the next highest tier. This district representative will be from among the best of all the neighborhood representatives, who came from “among the best” in their neighborhood. Another way to state this: Capable people are sending a more capable person higher into governance!

Each tier of the TDG will be filtering elected representatives. At the highest tier, the TDG will have found society’s most capable people for governance. They will have passed many lower-tier elections and performed well in their lower-tier duties and meetings to earn their position. And the citizenry will trust and respect this system, so they will also trust and respect the people in these higher tiers.

Published on Medium 2021

Voting for Good Character

Voting for Capacity for Governance