Practical Democracy

From electowiki

Practical Democracy, also called the triad method, is a method of appointing candidates to an assembly, devised by Fred Gohlke, who first used that name in an EM-list post in 2008.[1]

The method consists of randomly assigning people to groups of three members each at the base level, called level 1. These groups have an informed discussion about who of their number should be elected, and each group elects one member to continue in the process. The method is repeated by grouping the people thus elected into groups of three as level 2. Each level thus divides the number of people in the running by three. The process stops when there are few enough people left in the running to fit in the assembly, at which point they fill the assembly.

Fred Gohlke argued that unlike direct elections, and like sortition, the triad method eliminates the need for campaign funding, which he considers the greatest single cause of corruption in politics.

The triad method is a majoritarian method: since the assignments at each level are random, a minority candidate would most likely be paired with majority candidates, who would prefer the majority position. Gohlke later suggested a proportional variant for situations where proportional representation is desired.[2] In this variant, each person-candidate provides a faction label. The triad method is then run separately on each label, stopping when the total number of people in the running (across every category) fits the assembly.


Aaron Armitage argued that since the people do not directly express their consent to the election of the candidates, the method is incompatible with a republican form of governance. [3]

Raph Frank argued that the method might favor the overly ambitious as they would have the endurance to advance through the levels.[4]

See also

Fred Gohlke's Participedia entry on the method:

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  1. Gohlke, F. (2008-09-11). "Re: language/framing quibble". Election-methods mailing list archives..
  2. Gohlke, F. (2012-08-22). "PRACTICAL DEMOCRACY, Proportional Elections". Election-methods mailing list archives.
  3. Armitage, A. (2008-09-09). "Re: language/framing quibble". Election-methods mailing list archives..
  4. Frank, R. (2008-09-11). "language/framing quibble". Election-methods mailing list archives.