Google votes and liquid democracy

Here is a recent paper about a recent experiment in democratic decision-making:

This paper introduces Google Votes, an experiment in liquid democracy built on Google’s internal corporate Google+ social network. Liquid democracy decision-making systems can scale to cover large groups by enabling voters to delegate their votes to other voters…Google Votes demonstrates how the use of social-networking technology can overcome these barriers…The case-study of Google Votes usage at Google over a 3 year timeframe is included, as well as a framework for evaluating vote visibility called the “Golden Rule of Liquid Democracy”.

That is by Steve Hardt and Lia C. A. Lopes.

Imagine this in place for a normal democratic election, what would we expect?  Groups unwilling to vote might be willing to donate their votes, so in essence the cost of voting has fallen.  Would they donate to those who:

a) best reflect their views? That probably helps the Democrats, since non-voters probably are more likely to go Democratic.

b) Those who can reach them most easily? That helps the party with the most money and best ground operation and most credibility with the donating groups.

c) Those who best reflect some of their (potentially non-electoral) expressive sympathies?  Imagine for instance a disabled person donating a vote to a charity or cause for the disabled.  They may wish to boost the lobby, without necessarily agreeing with the electoral choice of that lobby.  I find this to be the most interesting option.

For the pointer I thank D.S.


Comments for this post are closed