The Instant Referendum--A CATV Based Direct Democratic Legislative Structure for Local Government.

by L. H. Zachs, Charles Wesley Harris

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The current unresponsiveness of local government to its constituents and its inability to resolve urban minority problems could be greatly reduced by the "instant referendum," a two-way, CATV-based remote voting system permitting direct citizen participation in city council proceedings. Cable television would be the best medium for such a system because it would permit fast response time and would be convenient to use as well as inexpensive. A cable system can carry so many channels that some could be used at little cost to present political arguments to voters. A remote voting system is technically feasible now, and could be designed to handle the problems of voter identification, "ballot box" stuffing, and absentee voters. An instant referendum would undoubtedly benefit active minority groups at the expense of both the present elite and the majority of politically less active voters. (See also P-4604.) 34 pp. Ref.

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