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The Other Lottery (not Shirley): Selecting Presidents, Legislators, and Judges By Lottery


A recent (Season 5) Malcolm Gladwell Revisionist History podcast reminded me that there is a long history of elections by lottery. (Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell, The Powerball Revolution, Season 5, Episode 3.)

If you want to conduct a thorough literature search of the topic Election by Lottery or Lottery Voting, you’ll need legal, political science, history, and other indexes – indexes and treatises that go back many centuries (i.e. pre-Google). You will also need to search primary sources of law, again back to the beginning of recorded time.

But if you want a basic introduction to the topic, “The Google” and the Scholarly-ish Google will suffice, along with “The Wikipedia.

A simple search of “The Google” and “The Google Scholar” using these words, elections lottery, and variations on that theme as your lottery elections vocabulary grows, will provide satisfactory results, unless and until you decide you want to draft legislation to change your own local and state elections to Election by Lottery, in which case you will need to deepen your research.

Note 1: If “The Google” doesn’t make it easy for you to find the full text of articles, ask your local librarians, public and academic and state. All Oregonians have free access to one or more legal research databases, through their county law libraries or the State Of Oregon Law Library, and through most public libraries.

Note 2: Before embarking on a campaign of persuasion, however, I also recommend you read Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking Fast and Slow” or a delightful layperson’s view of Kahneman and Tversky and their research, a book by Michael Lewis, “The Undoing Project,” and take their leads on further reading about behavioral economics, epistemology, knowledge, certainty, and more, including building your vocabulary, e.g. Sortition, Random Ballot, etc., etc., etc.

Enjoy your research adventure.

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