Voting for Good Character and Capacity for Governance

It’s time to change the system!

Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

The Neighborhood

The foundation of the TDG is the neighborhood. Citizens who live in close proximity to each other form an electoral neighborhood. Unlike contemporary electoral districts of the western democratic model where most people do not know much about their elected representatives, these neighborhoods should have 25 to 250 people and constitute an environment in which citizens have the opportunity to form some kind of community.

Duties of the Neighborhood Representative

The neighborhood representative conveys the ideas and concerns of the neighborhood to the higher tiers of government and also the ideas and concerns from the government back to the neighborhood. He or she can use formal meetings and one-on-one conversations to communicate with the neighbors.

The District

The next tier of the TDG is called, for the purposes of this book, the “district.” Each district will consist of three to 20 neighborhoods. In the district, the neighborhood representatives will be working together to resolve various issues of governance within the district. As well as resolving the issues of governance, the representatives will be getting to know each other’s characters and how they perform in the field of governance.

Duties of the District Representative

The duties of a district representative will be more involved in governance than the neighborhood representative. There will be more meetings with neighborhood representatives, higher levels of government, civil servants, and citizens’ groups to discuss and resolve the affairs of governance. Higher levels of government may assign specific duties to the district representatives; district representatives may assign specific duties to the neighborhood representatives. The district representatives will be an important conduit of communication between the higher levels of government to the neighborhoods.

The Tiers

The TDG selects the representatives on a tier-by-tier basis. The citizens elect their neighborhood representative to constitute the first tier. The neighborhood representatives elect the district representative to constitute the second tier. The district representatives elect the representatives to the next tier. This process continues, tier-by-tier, until the final tier of government is elected. The number of tiers would depend on how each jurisdiction wants to govern itself.

The TDG Election Process

Behind the rather simplistic explanation and example of how a TDG is constructed, there are some very powerful words that warrant a more thorough investigation. Let’s look a little closer.

All citizens in each neighborhood are eligible.

The TDG removes the barrier of party politics to enter public office. All citizens are, in effect, candidates for the job of neighborhood representative.

Good character and capacity and ability for governance.

Citizens vote for people with whom they are quite familiar: their neighbors. Neighbors usually have a good idea about which neighbors exhibit the good characteristics of honesty, reliability, compassion, tactfulness, and other virtues. Neighbors also know which neighbors are more community-minded, open to new ideas, and have collaborative skills. In essence, they make reasonably intelligent choices about the people they vote for.

There are no nominations . . .

Each citizen’s vote must not be influenced by what other citizens think. Each citizen should base his or her vote on what he or she has seen of his or her fellow neighbors. With this process, each neighbor is actually being analyzed from as many viewpoints as there are voting neighbors. The neighbors who come at the top of this list have indeed been scrutinized for their good character and capacity for governance from many different perspectives.

There are no nominations or campaigning.

People who know each other reasonably well have little need to rely on electioneering propaganda to select who is better for the position of governance. In fact, a citizen who engages in some self-promotion for the position should be seen as someone who wants the job a little too much — and not worthy of casting a vote towards.

Every year, citizens . . . elect their neighborhood representative.

The first purpose of annual elections is to hold the neighborhood representative accountable to his or her neighborhood. The citizens in a TDG always have a first-hand look at how well their neighborhood representative is doing his or her job. If the representative is not working out well, he or she can be replaced in the next election. The neighborhood is not burdened for a long period of time with an ineffective representative.

Voting is done by secret ballot.

In a TDG election, each voter must make his or her choice unencumbered by what other people may think of that choice. The secret ballot ensures that no citizen can be judged on the vote he or she has cast.

The opportunity to work together and see how each other performs in governance.

With the TDG, advancement is based on how well individuals have worked with their peers, not on creating marketing messages or making effective alliances to gain influence.

The Credibility of the TDG Representative

At any tier, the position of a TDG representative has great credibility. A neighborhood representative is someone who has gained the trust of people who know him or her reasonably well: his or her neighbors. People who meet a neighborhood representative for the first time can confidently assume that the he or she is someone of good character and has some capacity for governance. Likewise, a district representative gains his or her credibility from the trust and respect earned by working with fellow neighborhood representatives.

Dave Volek is the inventor of “Tiered Democratic Governance”. Let’s get rid of all political parties! Visit