Randomness and legitimacy in selecting democratic representatives
Parker, Joel Matthew
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The addition of random selection to our arsenal of methods for selecting political officials would enhance performance against norms of representative democracy. I employ historical and analytic methods to explore the nature of sortition and its relation to political equality, rational decision-making, and legitimate representation. Sortition both expresses a democratic commitment to political equality and facilitates improved performance under this democratic norm. It can be rational to eschew reasons in the process of selecting political officials, and decision-making bodies chosen randomly can be expected to make good decisions. I also address concerns stemming from representative norms, surrounding random selection of officials, arguing that random selection can enhance the resemblance and responsiveness of representatives. Finally, I detail some possibilities for institutional arrangements that would deliver the benefits of sortition while addressing the challenges it presents.