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When Citizens DecideLessons from Citizen Assemblies on Electoral Reform$
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Patrick Fournier, Henk van der Kolk, R. Kenneth Carty, André Blais, and Jonathan Rose

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199567843

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567843.001.0001

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Did the Citizen Assemblies Make the Right Decisions?

Did the Citizen Assemblies Make the Right Decisions?

(p.79) 5 Did the Citizen Assemblies Make the Right Decisions?
When Citizens Decide

Patrick Fournier

Henk van der Kolk

R. Kenneth Carty

André Blais

Jonathan Rose

Oxford University Press

Particular electoral systems institutionalize competing goals and principles differently. Ideally, the choice of an electoral system should therefore be related to the principles deemed most and least important. Since individuals have different priorities, their preferences for electoral systems should differ along those lines. In this chapter, both the relationship between individual-level values/priorities and electoral system preferences, as well as the coherence of the ultimate collective decisions reached by the three assemblies, are studied. The chapter tackles four questions: Were individuals’ preferences concerning electoral systems consistent with their principles? Did the consistency between preferences and principles evolve over time? Did members’ political sophistication influence the consistency between preferences and principles? And were the assemblies’ final collective choices reasonable? The results point to quality decision-making and political competence in the extraordinary context of citizen assemblies.

Keywords:   decisions, principles, preferences, consistency

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