Deliberation by the People Themselves: Entry Points for the Public Voice
Deliberative democracy by the people themselves is a distinctive form of democratic practice. It can be distinguished from deliberative democracy practiced by elites or representatives as well as from other forms of democracy that do not emphasize deliberation. In this article I explore ways this kind of democracy can be realized and then inserted into our current democratic institutions. The idea is to explore possible entry points in our political system for deliberative democratic designs involving ordinary citizens. In doing so I draw on recent experiments with Deliberative Polls and other mini-publics. I focus on four entry points: a) the evaluation and/or selection of candidates in the nomination phase; b) the evaluation and/or formulation of ballot propositions; c) public input into policy and legislation; and d) public input into processes of constitutional change.