Real Democracy Now! a podcast

Real Democracy Now! a podcast answers the question: can we do democracy differently? If you're dissatisfied with the current state of democracy but not sure how it could be improved this is the podcast for you. You'll hear from experts and activists as well as everyday people about how democracy works and how it can be improved. Then you get to choose which reforms you think would make the most difference.
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Real Democracy Now! a podcast




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Now displaying: October, 2017
Oct 26, 2017
Welcome to episode four of season three of Real Democracy Now! a podcast. This episode is also the 43rd episode of the podcast and the first one since the first birthday of the podcast last week. To help celebrate the podcast’s birthday I’d appreciate it if you could share either your favourite episode of the podcast or the podcast generally with someone you think would find it interesting. 
Today's episode is about electoral reform with Dr Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit at UCL in London. Alan’s expertise lies mainly in the areas of electoral systems, referendums, and other modes of engaging the public in decision-making processes, such as citizens’ assemblies. His research is comparative: besides the UK, his recent projects have included all European democracies as well as New Zealand, Japan, and Canada. In addition to numerous journal articles, chapters and reports he is the author of two books about electoral reform: A Citizens’ Guide to Electoral Reform and The Politics of Electoral Reform: Changing the Rules of Democracy.
Thanks for joining me today. In the next episode I’ll be talking with Professor Pippa Norris about electoral integrity. 
I am currently putting together interviews about electoral systems around the world and so far I’ve interviewed people about India, South and Southern Africa, Australia, Asia and the South Pacific and New Zealand. 
I would also like to interview someone about electoral systems in Latin America but have not been successful in finding the right person to do this. If you know someone who you could fill this gap please introduce them to me via email at 
Oct 3, 2017
Welcome to episode 3 in Season 3 of Real Democracy Now! a podcast. Season 3 is about elections, electoral systems, electoral reform and alternatives. In this episode I’m speaking with Professor John Gastil. John is a Professor in the Communication Arts and Sciences and Political Science at the Pennsylvania State University as well as a Senior Scholar in the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. He studies political deliberation and group decision making across a range of contexts.
Recently John and Erik Olin Wright, as part of the Real Utopias project, held a three-day workshop called Legislature by Lot. Thanks to David Schecter I was able to interview John shortly after this workshop to learn more about what was discussed. A copy of the agenda for the workshop which includes the attendees is available with the Show Notes for this episode.
John described this workshop as ‘a deliberation about deliberation’.
John spoke about
  • the origins of the Legislature by Lot workshop [1:32]
  • the different ways to implement sortition (random selection) [3:54]
  • some of the arguments in favour of a legislature selected by lot [5:44]
  • different models of sortition [7:40]
  • responding to criticisms of legislature by lot [10:11]
  • how to design an oversight body to support a legislature selected by lot [14:10]
  • the prospect of institutional change and transition strategies [18:34]
  • moving the agenda of using sortition forward [23:43]
  • how much work is happening around the world to test and promote the use of sortition [28:35]
  • what representation and accountability means for bodies selected by sortition [30:29]
  • deliberation, consensus, contention and voting [34:35 and 38:50]
  • what the workshop agreed on [43:18]
  • what might happen after the workshop: building links between researchers and practitioners [45:34]
  • responses to critiques of empowered mini-publics [49:35]
  • when the book arising from the workshop will be published [53:07]
John mentioned the work of the Sortition Foundation, the newDemocracy Foundation to promote the use of sortition.
Thank you for joining me today. In the next episode I will be speaking to Dr Alan Renwick about electoral reform around the world [54:11].
I hope you’ll join me then.