Robust and fair processes are the core of good democracy.
The problems concerning the quality of governments, can be traced directly to lax rules controlling the functional parts of democracy. Corruption and concentrated power act through the stacking of committees, breaking campaign funding rules, stuffing ballot boxes, hiring friends, skimming funds or taking bribes. There is no correlation between ideology or political affiliation and bad government. There is a correlation with corrupt human behaviour. Often the rules controlling the operation of many democracies were designed to count on the good intentions of the participants. A number of recent governments have shown the profoundly negative consequences of that misplaced confidence. Therefore the rules governing voting or committees or campaign funding must always anticipate bad behaviour and place barriers to prevent it's harmful effects.
There are many different forms of democratic government in operation around the world. International standards of democratic process should not be a means of imposing homogeneity or ideology on any democracy. The
The foundation of any form of democracy must be it's respect for human rights. The
2500 years of democracy has provided ample data on the behaviours commonly associated with abuses of process. We know what the bad behaviours are. We know how to write rules to prevent them. We must make sure these rules are always used in every level of government.
However, static systems are simply not robust over time. Human nature will find ways to overcome any system that does not adapt. An important feature of the
Consider for a moment the top 100 abusive and corrupt leaders in the world. Even a cursory analysis of their behaviour will show that implementation of just 5 certified standards would remove all of the worst actors from power.
• certified election process
• strict limits on campaign funding
• hard term limits and regular elections
• conflict of interest laws
• certified process for new candidates
The following are some examples of democratic procedures and problems we hope to remedy with robust standards of process, many of them suggested by Canadian citizens on our
Right to Vote
voter registration, voter intimidation, voter suppression, barrier free access to voting, vote privacy
referenda, regularity of elections, optimizing electoral districts, gerrymandering, election advertising, ballot design and control, ballot stuffing, voting systems, vote security, vote counting & scrutineers, vote verification, mandate viability, recounts, penalties for fraud, election transparency
political party registration, barriers to new parties, candidate selection, campaign funding, campaign advertising, political action groups, recall of elected officials, term limits, truth in political party platforms, enforcement of and standards for campaign promises, fomenting as a high crime, banning from political office
constitution design, constitution reform, constitution amendment, division of powers, independent judiciary
cronyism, conflict of interest, recusal obligations, lobbying, ethical code of conduct, permanent suspension for unlawful activity, transparency, abuse of government resources, accounting and reporting standards, sustainable economics, operation of committees, representative public input, evidence based forward planning, protections and penalties against corruption
Media and Public Discourse
freedom of the press, delineation between fact based reporting, editorial and opinion, fact checking, application of libel, hate and fomenting speech limitations, attribution of advertising, funding disclosures for political activity, media ownership disclosure, media ownership concentration