From the inception of his campaign, Larry Lessig has run on the promise to deliver the most clear and unambiguous mandate possible from citizens of the U.S. to the 2017 Congress, demanding that the first act be a fix to democracy in the form of a single statute titled, the Citizen Equality Act (CEA). But, what is the CEA?
So far it is much less of an act than it is a question, and that is: What civil rights are the most fundamental to a healthy representative democracy?
With the launch of his campaign, Lessig provided only an outline of an answer that focuses on these top three rights: the right to vote, the right to representation, and the right to public elections. To develop precise solutions for ensuring these rights, he has committed to “crowdsourcing” the entire act in a three stage, nonpartisan effort to pass what would surely be the most comprehensive civic reform since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In the first stage of the effort, volunteer and invited teams of experts and artists are to be tasked with explaining the current problems with each right along with different alternatives for fixing them.
For example, in the case of voting rights, voters from both parties have supported making Election Day a holiday. Republicans want a secure system where only U.S. citizens vote and Democrats want vulnerable groups to have an equal opportunity to vote. A modern automatic registration and verification system is one solution offered that addresses both concerns, while making every voter’s life easier.
The best solution might still be out there in the crowd, however, making the CEA one of the most interesting experiments in Lessig’s history of unique advocacy efforts.
As each issue is explained, voters in the general public are to join the process of selecting the policies that provide the biggest improvements to citizen equality by participating in specialized polls that prioritize questions about the current problems and the proposed fixes. The voter feedback leads into the second stage of crowdsourcing where the actual legal legislation is drafted.
As sections of the act are written, teams of volunteers are asked to help link each line back to the information produced in the first stage, thus ensuring the integrity of the final product.
The last stage for the CEA is building a large enough voter mandate to secure both a president and Congress committed to making it the very first act of 2017.
To explore launching the effort, CEA volunteers have published an email signup page with the goal of securing a minimum of ten thousand initial participants.
Despite being a self-professed liberal Democrat, Lessig has recognized that the CEA must be a nonpartisan effort that addresses the concerns of all Americans on this issue. This means that effectively crowdsourcing the CEA will require Democrats, Republicans, libertarians, and independents to be citizens first.
To learn more about the CEA visit: citizenequality.us.