How to find participants for an assembly chosen by lot
One of the big issues with selection of an assembly by lot is that of identifying the group from which the eventual members are to be selected. The basic procedure would be on the lines of:
- selecting by lot a sub-set of registered voters who would be invited to say whether they were willing to participate;
- from those of that sub-set who expressed willingness, select the members of the assembly by lot.
Clearly people would have to assent to being included, and for that to work, they would need to know exactly what they might be in for. Going for the imagined second house within parliament, and if, as suggested in the currently proposed (by Palmer and Butler) Aotearoa New Zealand constitution, the parliamentary term was four years, it seems unlikely that the members of the randomly selected citizens’ assembly could reasonably be expected to commit four years out of their lives, and then return to their former situation pretty much regardless of how well they were paid. However, research is needed into what citizens would be prepared to do, given that once selected and having served their term in the assembly, they would be excluded from further selection.
Once up and running, Bouricius (Bouricius T. G., 2013, Democracy Through Multi-Body Sortition: Athenian Lessons for the Modern Day, Journal of Public Deliberation, Vol.9, Issue 1, Article 11) envisages rolling over one third of the members of the assembly each year, so that there is continuity of experience within the assembly (he was thinking of a three year term). So except at the outset, the assembly would not be all “beginners”. With a four year term, one quarter of the members would be rolled over each year.
I am hoping for some discussion here.