Sortition to the Rescue!

If sortition were a superhero we think the superhero would look something like this...

Or perhaps not...

BUT, if you want to become a sortition superhero then here is your chance: join our Discourse discussion forum which is for anyone interested in discussing citizens' assemblies and citizens' juries and to share experiences and knowledge - you could even discuss sortition superhero costumes if you'd like...

Or, if you'd prefer to listen and talk about sortition here are a few options:

  • For those in the US see below: "Next US Sortition Foundation Chapter Meeting"
  • For those of you in Europe, our co-founder and director Brett Hennig continues to promote sortition widely. Upcoming events he's speaking at include:

If you are at any of those events don't hesitate to come and say hello!


Next US Sortition Foundation Chapter Meeting

Our US Chapter is meeting again - this Sunday 4th August (1pm Pacific/2pm Mountain/3pm Central/4pm Eastern time) and Tuesday 6th August (6pm Pacific/7pm Mountain/8pm Central/9pm Eastern time). Join up to the US list here, and then come along to hear about what's happening in the US on the sortition front. Note that these are identical meetings to give more flexibility for people to get involved.

In other US news, in Dissent Magazine and the New York Times sortition is getting mentioned favourably, and throughout August a sortition Citizens' Jury is happening in Milwaukie, Oregon (the photo is the invite package sent out). Hopefully this will be one of many!

So the seeds of a democratic revolution are being planted everywhere (see more below) - we just need to nurture them so they grow strong and spread further.

Permanent Sortition Assembly: the Ostbelgien example

In the small German-speaking region of east Belgium, the regional parliament there is making history.

The Ostbelgien Parliament is about to kick-start the first permanent sortition chamber to sit alongside an elected parliament. The inaugural meeting of the new sortition chamber will be in September and yes, the Sortition Foundation is helping them get ready by supporting and advising them on the stratified selection process. We look forward to the Ostbelgien model becoming a beacon for other parliaments to follow.

Sortition Services Update: We've in the process of doing our 10th "selection and stratification" for Citizens' Assemblies and Citizens' Juries 

We have had a busy few months! Here's some of the highlights:

  • In September and October the Greater Cambridge Citizens' Assembly on How do we reduce congestion, improve air quality, and provide better public transport in Greater Cambridge? will convene with the people we randomly selected (using the process described below).
  • In mid-July we worked with the National Assembly for Wales to select a broadly representative group of Welsh residents, who were brought together to discuss How people in Wales can shape their future.
  • In Leeds we are working with various groups to select the participants of a Citizens' Jury on What should Leeds do about the emergency of climate change?

But how do you do it? How do you randomly select people for Citizens' Assemblies?

We get asked this (very important!) question again and again - so here goes:

  • First: we randomly select several thousand addresses from Royal Mail's postal address database in the relevant area. This is pure random selection - we are given a bunch of postcodes/zip codes to randomly select the addresses from, and that is what we do!
  • Second: every adult (sometimes everyone aged 16 and over) in a household that receives an invitation can register his or her interest in participating.
  • Third: from those who register, we do a weighted (sometimes called stratified) random selection making sure that those selected match the socio-economic and demographic profile of the place they live. In this sense it is "broadly representative" of the community. We then confirm those selected are still interested and available in attending (and replace any who drop out).
  • Fourth: is the Assembly itself - which is typically organised by our partners.

The pie-charts to the right show a real-life example of the selection statistics, including how initial skewing of registrants (we get proportionally more people who are older, have more education, and who vote) is corrected in the third step.

We hope that makes sense and clarifies some common questions!

The Sortition Foundation needs accountancy and tax advice!

Hey, are you a passionate sortition democracy advocate and an accountant? Do you have a few hours every few months to spare and help our book-keepers keep up to date with our accounts? Then we'd love to hear from you! Get in touch with Tom or Sam at info@sortitionfoundation if you, or someone you know, might be interested in giving us a helping hand.

Support a better way to do democracy: Become a Sortition Foundation Member Today!

Yes, this bit of our newsletter is still here. We don't really like asking for money, but to guarantee our own independence and longevity, small but regular membership fees are the best source of income we can get!

So! Go on! Support our work and become a Sortition Foundation Member...


Sortition Foundation