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Old 09-09-2021, 11:10 AM   #741
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

How about a Zodiacal Legislature? 12 bodies, each consisting of 12 members, for a total of 144. Each body corresponds to one of the Chinese Zodiac (or equivalent for your setting), each member must have been born under that sign to qualify, and the electors that appoint them can only vote for those of the same sign. Each term is 12 years (and all members of a given Zodiac are elected at the same time, during the year of said Zodiac), and members cannot be replaced, although removal via impeachment is possible, and if all members of a given body die or are otherwise removed, that Zodiac is simply no longer represented until its next election. Most bills/resolutions/etc must have a simple majority (typically seven) of the bodies vote in favor for it to pass, and voting in favor similarly requires a simple majority within that body. Constitutional Amendments and the like require a supermajority (75% or more, which typically calls for nine). Impeachment requires either a simple majority within the body the legislator is part of and a supermajority of all bodies or, if the body the legislator is part of votes against impeachment, all other bodies must vote in favor of it.

I suspect it wouldn't really work out. Having to deal with election campaigns every year, but each person only being able to vote once every 12 years (probably starting at age 24), seems like it would end... poorly.
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Old 09-10-2021, 07:33 AM   #742
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
How about a Zodiacal Legislature? 12 bodies, each consisting of 12 members, for a total of 144. Each body corresponds to one of the Chinese Zodiac (or equivalent for your setting), each member must have been born under that sign to qualify, and the electors that appoint them can only vote for those of the same sign. Each term is 12 years (and all members of a given Zodiac are elected at the same time, during the year of said Zodiac), and members cannot be replaced, although removal via impeachment is possible, and if all members of a given body die or are otherwise removed, that Zodiac is simply no longer represented until its next election. Most bills/resolutions/etc must have a simple majority (typically seven) of the bodies vote in favor for it to pass, and voting in favor similarly requires a simple majority within that body. Constitutional Amendments and the like require a supermajority (75% or more, which typically calls for nine). Impeachment requires either a simple majority within the body the legislator is part of and a supermajority of all bodies or, if the body the legislator is part of votes against impeachment, all other bodies must vote in favor of it.

I suspect it wouldn't really work out. Having to deal with election campaigns every year, but each person only being able to vote once every 12 years (probably starting at age 24), seems like it would end... poorly.

On the other hand, it might destroy the election cycle and make targeted campaigning a lot harder. If every year is election year... no year is.



Note that people will vote on specific birthday years: everyone voting will always be 18, 30, 42, and so on. Depending on the initial voting age of course: you can set that to whatever you want.



This gives you a very bland and generic electorate, as you are taking an essentially random sample across the country. This could end up with bunch of moderates, but its just as likely to find an equilibrium point and two parties.
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Old 09-13-2021, 07:10 AM   #743
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

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On the other hand, it might destroy the election cycle and make targeted campaigning a lot harder. If every year is election year... no year is.
I guess it could kinda go either way - it's not like the extreme fervor that happens every four years in the USA (and to a reduced degree every two years) is necessary. I think every year having an election would make it less likely for a trend of extreme campaigning to be set, but it's hard to say.

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Note that people will vote on specific birthday years: everyone voting will always be 18, 30, 42, and so on. Depending on the initial voting age of course: you can set that to whatever you want.
Indeed. I'll note I'm assuming a culture where the number 12 either is or used to be extremely significant. That's why I suggested voting start at age 24 (so 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96, and so forth, although without longevity treatments - or a species with a naturally longer lifespan, this thread doesn't have to be restricted to human society - 108+ year olds voting are going to be vanishingly rare). Honestly, part of me is tempted to allow voting at age 12 (I think many older cultures considered adulthood to begin around this age), although in that case it may be appropriate to integrate one of the previously-suggested schemes to make votes worth more the older you get (a simple option would be to give each person one vote at age 12, two at 24, three at 36, and so forth).

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This gives you a very bland and generic electorate, as you are taking an essentially random sample across the country. This could end up with bunch of moderates, but its just as likely to find an equilibrium point and two parties.
I was assuming a fairly simplistic setup - straight popular vote, top 12 get into office. This would make things... interesting for a political party. The more people you put in the running, the more potential seats, but there's the risk of "friendly fire" where members of your party essentially poach votes from others (that is, you are spreading your votes out over more people, making it less likely any of them will have enough votes individually to get elected). I could see an option to essentially vote for a party, and then the seats are set based on percentage and each party appoints a representative to each seat they control (I think there are some countries that handle things in a similar fashion). That does make the idea that removal - via impeachment, resignation, or death/disability - essentially deletes that seat until the next election more difficult to justify, as the party would probably be able to just appoint a replacement (although you could maintain that effect by stating appointments must be made during the election year for that body). With that effect in play, however, politics - or at least being a legislator - is something of a young man's game, as you generally don't want to elect somebody who doesn't have a very good chance of surviving their twelve-year term.

There's also the possibility of something more akin to how USA's history of sort of starting as semi-independent States shaped the electoral setup here. While I think my suggestion would likely require each legislature to run nationwide, you could have some states be "winner takes all" (where the top twelve each get a proportion - perhaps equal, perhaps based on how well they did there - of the state's full electoral votes) while in other states everyone who runs gets their appropriate percentage of that state's electoral votes, and some states would have more people per electoral vote than others. That would mix things up, and could result in more of the targeted campaigns we're used to, albeit arguably to a greater extent - assuming the Zodiac scheme were applied to something like the United States, every Legislative hopeful would be focusing on the "Battleground States." Could certainly be interesting, although I suspect if people in such a setting got worked up over politics as folk in the USA tend to, it may well be an unpleasant place to live (particularly the Battleground States).
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Old 09-14-2021, 11:18 AM   #744
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

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I was assuming a fairly simplistic setup - straight popular vote, top 12 get into office. This would make things... interesting for a political party. The more people you put in the running, the more potential seats, but there's the risk of "friendly fire" where members of your party essentially poach votes from others (that is, you are spreading your votes out over more people, making it less likely any of them will have enough votes individually to get elected).

That's a tricky (and thus fun) set-up, independent of the base vote-by-age idea. It makes party discipline a lot harder to maintain, while making it more important as well... or perhaps it just pushes political parties towards an "ideal" size (whatever that is... probably between a 1/20th and a 1/10th of the electorate). The emergent complexity of trying to control multiple seats, create a new party, and so forth, in this sort of situation looks awesome.


Though the vote for party method is probably what the factions that get the upper hand try to change things to. Vote for person and take top X candidates is more interesting though. I suspect candidates would frequently bow out of the race if they thought they were going to come up short, so that allies could be more confident in their victories... pre-election polling would be critical.
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Old 09-15-2021, 06:36 AM   #745
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That's a tricky (and thus fun) set-up, independent of the base vote-by-age idea. It makes party discipline a lot harder to maintain, while making it more important as well... or perhaps it just pushes political parties towards an "ideal" size (whatever that is... probably between a 1/20th and a 1/10th of the electorate). The emergent complexity of trying to control multiple seats, create a new party, and so forth, in this sort of situation looks awesome.
You could end up with such smaller "ideal" parties, but with informal alliances between them - essentially "vote with us on this issue, we'll vote with you on that issue."

Of course, a weird refinement I considered (but didn't post, feeling it went a bit too far) was to actually have each seat correspond to a month as well as a year (so only those born under the sign of Aquarius in the Year of the Rat can vote for this particular seat, and only an eligible voter for the seat can occupy it). This avoids the poaching issue (and thus makes a two-party system more likely) but means you're running an election every month, which is rather a bit much. It also means you might have different setups for different votes - perhaps in some cases you divide them up into bodies based on their year (Rat, Dog, Ox, etc), and in other cases you divide them up by the month (Aquarius, Taurus, Gemini, etc).

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Though the vote for party method is probably what the factions that get the upper hand try to change things to. Vote for person and take top X candidates is more interesting though. I suspect candidates would frequently bow out of the race if they thought they were going to come up short, so that allies could be more confident in their victories... pre-election polling would be critical.
That could potentially be used for the backdrop of a (game) campaign - an amendment is in the works to change things to Vote for Party, but several supporters for it (or opponents against it) wind up dead from various circumstances - accidents, sudden illness, unexpected suicide, etc. The PC's somehow get mixed up in it all (perhaps an eclectic selection of relatives/employees of the dead legislators, private investigators, political activists, etc) and have to figure out what's going on.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:04 PM   #746
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

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This is another government from a polity in my Orichalcum Universe uses in the 22nd Century. But it could be adjusted for general use. It's a variant on a gerontocracy, in a society that traditionally reveres age.

The national legislature is subdivided into 'circles'. These are not 'houses' in the Congressional/Parliamentary sense, all the legislators sit in one chamber and act as a single body. The legislature has 600 members. The first 'circle' is made up of 200 members from 200 'ridings' which are periodically adjusted in size to keep them approximately equal in population.

The electorate for the first circle consists of everyone over the age of 18, and one must be 28 to run.

The second circle represents the same ridings, but one must be at least 38 to vote for second-circle elections, and there is a minimum age of 48 to sit in the second circle.

The third circle is again 200, but they must be at least 68* and the electorate for the third circle begins at age 58. Note that there is no maxmum age cutoff, as one gets older one can vote for more legislators but continue to be able to vote for the other circles. That is, a resident of a given riding can vote for one representative in the legislature when he is 20, two representatives when he is 40, and three when he is 60.

All chamber officers (the equivalent of speaker of the house or the like) must be third circle members.

Obviously, this has the effect of tilting political power always toward the older generations, both in terms of franchise and membership.


*Anti-agathic drugs are available in-setting, 68 is about mid-life in terms of average life span.
Having a gerontocracy has advantages in your society (and is not without argument in real life, but that's as may be). What is another thought is someone to lead the legislature and preserve it's traditions. One thing I thought of was consuls elected by the legislature themselves. They have no vote except during a stalemate but they preside over committees and general sessions. Essentially they are judges of the procedure of the legislature. Once they reach the position of consulate they remain until they die, are impeached for cause, or are deposed without cause (usually meaning being to powerful or just to obnoxious for anyone's good, without any specific implications about their honor) by a supermajority.

Under your system a consul could only come from the upper circles.
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Old 09-15-2021, 07:24 PM   #747
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With that effect in play, however, politics - or at least being a legislator - is something of a young man's game, as you generally don't want to elect somebody who doesn't have a very good chance of surviving their twelve-year term.
Note that since the legislators must be of the same zodiacal sign, they are *also* a multiple of 12 old when they take office. Electing somebody 60 is a bit risky if the office goes vacant on death, but probably OK, 72 or 84 maybe not so much.

Incidentally are political parties skewed by sign? If astrological signs actually affected personalities, or even if enough people are convinced they should and try to behave according to their sign (or there are parties that deliberately design their platform to align to what they think is the correct astrological behaviors), they might be.
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Old 09-16-2021, 08:42 AM   #748
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You could end up with such smaller "ideal" parties, but with informal alliances between them - essentially "vote with us on this issue, we'll vote with you on that issue."
for sure... though those can switch around, and I suspect that some will be baked in. There might be two voting blocks that vote almost the same on everything but one issue. On the other hand, a dedicated block might be very mercenary about what it votes for outside of its main cause and make that very clear.

Quote:
Of course, a weird refinement I considered (but didn't post, feeling it went a bit too far) was to actually have each seat correspond to a month as well as a year (so only those born under the sign of Aquarius in the Year of the Rat can vote for this particular seat, and only an eligible voter for the seat can occupy it). This avoids the poaching issue (and thus makes a two-party system more likely) but means you're running an election every month, which is rather a bit much. It also means you might have different setups for different votes - perhaps in some cases you divide them up into bodies based on their year (Rat, Dog, Ox, etc), and in other cases you divide them up by the month (Aquarius, Taurus, Gemini, etc).
I had wondered why you didn't mention it... it seemed a very obvious extension of the system to me.

If you're running an election every month, the process probably looks more like the DMV than the polls. You need the building and workers every month, so instead of hiring them specially, you hire permanent positions and buy/rent permanent space. Parties do get oversight, but its going to be a lot less intense and rushed. Campaigning for individuals might spike, but you're targeting 144th of the population.

I'm looking for ways this would break down...

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Note that since the legislators must be of the same zodiacal sign, they are *also* a multiple of 12 old when they take office. Electing somebody 60 is a bit risky if the office goes vacant on death, but probably OK, 72 or 84 maybe not so much.

Incidentally are political parties skewed by sign? If astrological signs actually affected personalities, or even if enough people are convinced they should and try to behave according to their sign (or there are parties that deliberately design their platform to align to what they think is the correct astrological behaviors), they might be.
You might get some weird feedback loops. Theories about the signs effecting behavior could lead to effects in terms of what sort of people run and how they present themselves. And certain groups might gain reputations if their representative has a memorable personality or is frequently a swing vote.
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:47 AM   #749
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Default Re: Exotic Governmental/Legal Systems

Divarchy:

A form of theocracy or even technocracy, an Divarchy is one wherin laws are passed or vetoed by means of some form of divination. These methods are also used to practice law and engage in warfare.

In the supernatural sense, this makes a lot of sense, and consists of casting divination spells as a part of all work of government.

In the mundane sense, this gets interesting. Suppose that the method used is drawing runes from a bag. Lawmakers may choose to hold back a law for later consideration until most of the "no" runes have already been pulled.

That, of course, assumes that there is a lawmaking body. A thoroughly pre-definited horoscope system may include a detailed prescription for every day, including new rules to add or remove. Such a creation is kind of a polymorphic constitution, and may be so complicated as to be somewhat unpredictable as scribes pour over the text all day, every day, trying to find out what it's prescribing in real time.

The real power presumably existed with the god-king who created the horoscope system... or more likely with the clerks who interpret it.
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:55 AM   #750
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The real power presumably existed with the god-king who created the horoscope system... or more likely with the clerks who interpret it.

A quote from a game based on Ming-Era China I'm currently running:


"Never present the emperor a choice where you don't like both outcomes"
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