TAN+N -- Book, Article Reviews and Excerpts

Televote: Expanding Citizen Participation in the Quantum Age

Christa Slaton
(New York: Praeger, 1992)
Reviewed in The Futurist (July-August 1992)

book cover Televoting as "Quantum Politics"

A series of innovative public-opinion experiments that embody the principles of quantum physics may show the way toward a more participatory democracy, according to this new book.

Quantum theory posits the essential interconnectedness of seemingly unrelated events. In Televote, political scientist Christa Daryl Slaton describes how a dozen experiments in Hawaii, California and New Zealand marshaled the principles of randomness, probability, and interactivity to measure public opinion and stimulate participation.

In the "televote" experiments, a random sampling of individuals were telephoned to solicit their participation. Those who agreed to participate were mailed a public opinion survey along with information about the issues in question. Televoters were encouraged to discuss the issues with others before phoning in their replies. The results were then publicized and disseminated to relevant legislators.

Slaton says that the televote method not only serves a mediational role between citizens and their representatives, but also increases citizen awareness and promotes interaction among citizens. If used on a wider scale, televotes would enable a "more representative, knowledgeable, enthusiastic citizenry" to shape public policy, she suggests.

According to Praeger Publishers, this book:

"...challenges most traditional and conventional American political and scientific thinking on the value and practicality of direct citizen participation in agenda setting, planning and policy-making. Slaton provides a new theoretical and practical response to those opposed to increasing direct democracy in the United States, introduces a new method by which to promote and measure informed and deliberated public opinion, proposes a new methodology that stimulates citizen participation toward complex policy issues, and applies analogies to the paradigms of quantum physics to new theories and techniques designed to promote citizen participation in a democracy."

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