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The Trouble With Elections


A new book from ‘recovering politician’ and democracy theorist Terry Bouricius, now on Substack


With 20 years in elected office and another decade as an election reform policy analyst, Terry Bouricius argues that the inherent flaws of elections actually stand in the way of genuine democracy. He suggests that democratic lotteries, which have an ancient history and are gaining renewed interest globally, could be the key to achieving true government by the people.

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THE TROUBLE WITH ELECTIONS


A new book from ‘recovering politician’ and democracy theorist Terry Bouricius, now on Substack


Terry Bouricius shows how his two decades in elected office and another as an election reform policy analyst convinced him that elections themselves are fundamentally undemocratic, and that replacing them with democratic lotteries is key to achieving the original promise of government by the people.

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I have been working on a book about elections and democratic lotteries for over ten years.

The working title of the book is: The Trouble With Elections: Everything We Thought We Knew About Democracy is Wrong.

I will be posting a draft of the book here, serialized in manageable pieces, prior to printing it as a physical book. If you are coming to this Substack after May 3rd, 2023, you should “begin at the very beginning, a very good place to start” by clicking at the “Start From The Beginning” link.

I expect to add a new post every few days.  My hope is that some of you will help out as a sort of crowd-sourced editing team. You are welcome to just read what I have written. but if you feel inclined to pick up the metaphorical editorial pen and give feedback, that would be much appreciated. Are some of my points unclear, too tangential to the main arguments, or awkwardly worded? Let me know by leaving a comment on this post, or sending an email to terrybour@gmail.com with “substack” in the subject line.

— Terry Bouricius



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About Terry


Terry Bouricius is an internationally known political theorist with a focus on sortition – the use of random selection to form genuinely representative deliberative bodies. He refers to himself as a “recovering politician.”

He was elected to the City Council in Burlington, Vermont USA in 1981 in the same election that saw Bernie Sanders elected mayor. Bouricius served on the City Council for ten years, including a term as president, and then for another decade as a member of the Vermont House of Representatives. He was a founder of the Vermont Progressive Party, the only 3rd party in an American state with major-party status.

After leaving elective office in 2001, he worked with FairVote: The Center for Voting and Democracy as an election reform policy analyst, with a particular focus on ranked choice voting.

Since 2005 his primary focus has been sortition. In 2015 he organized an international conference on 21st Century Democracy and sortition hosted by the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. He has published a variety of articles and book chapters about democracy and sortition. Bouricius received his political science B.A from Middlebury College in 1976. He is married with two grown children, and lives in Burlington, Vermont, USA.
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