John Gastil: Deliberation and Governance
The Citizens’ Initiative Review now joins a set of innovative processes that have linked citizen deliberation directly to government.
It stands beside the Canadian Citizens’ Assembly, in particular, as one of the most promising new ways to link small group deliberation to mass public voting on ballot measures. The bottom line is that processes like these can bring us better ballot measures and more reflective, thoughtful voting choices.
Backing up a step more, it’s necessary to appreciate where all this comes from. There have been people creating new processes for public deliberation since the 1970s, with early efforts including Planning Cells in Germany and Citizens’ Juries in the U.S.
The latter process was devised by Ned Crosby, and he is the principal architect behind the Citizens’ Initiative Review, which he first developed as an idea for Washington State.