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Deliberative referendum

A deliberative referendum is a referendum that increases public deliberation through purposeful institutional design.[1] The term ‵deliberative referendum′ stems from deliberative democracy,[2] which emphasises that ″the legitimacy of decisions can be increased if ... decisions are preceded by authentic deliberation.″[3] Deliberative design features can promote public deliberation prior to and during the referendum vote to increase its actual and perceived legitimacy.[4] Deliberative referendums encourage open-minded and informed reasoning, rather than rigid ″pre-formed opinions.″[5] ″[A]fter deliberations, citizens routinely alter their preferences″.[4]

In practice, a deliberative referendum includes a variety of institutional design features. These include using a citizens' jury to set referendum questions and educate the public, further public education via mandatory interactive tutorials before voting, and focusing referendums on broad values rather than technicalities.[6] Some authors note how legal regulation can also aid referendum deliberation.[7]

Constitutional deliberative referendums can ″provide citizens with a meaningful say in determining the most fundamental constitutional decisions that affect their lives.″[8] Voter deliberation is significant here as the referendum result could change the state’s political status or impact the enjoyment of human rights.[9]

References

  1. ^ Levy, Ron (2013) ″Deliberative Voting: Realising Constitutional Referendum Democracy″ Public Law p.557.
  2. ^ Tierney, Stephen (2013) ″Using Electoral Law to Construct a Deliberative Referendum Moving Beyond the Democratic Paradox″12(4) Election Law Journal p.509.
  3. ^ Leib, Ethan J (2006) ″Can Direct Democracy Be Made Deliberative?″ 54 Buffalo Law Review p.903.
  4. ^ a b Leib, Ethan J (2006) ″Can Direct Democracy Be Made Deliberative?″ 54 Buffalo Law Review p.910.
  5. ^ Tierney, Stephen (2013) ″Using Electoral Law to Construct a Deliberative Referendum Moving Beyond the Democratic Paradox″ 12(4) Election Law Journal pp.508-512.
  6. ^ Levy, Ron (2017) ″The Deliberative Case for Constitutional Referenda ″ Election Journal p. 214-215.
  7. ^ Tierney, Stephen (2013) ″Using Electoral Law to Construct a Deliberative Referendum Moving Beyond the Democratic Paradox″ 12(4) Election Law Journal p.523.
  8. ^ Tierney, Stephen (2013) ″Using Electoral Law to Construct a Deliberative Referendum Moving Beyond the Democratic Paradox″ 12(4) Election Law Journal p.510.
  9. ^ Levy, Ron (2013) ″Deliberative Voting: Realising Constitutional Referendum Democracy″ Public Law p.559.