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BRAINIAC

Innovation of the Week: Liquid democracy

globe staff illustration/ap

By David Scharfenberg Globe Staff 

What is it? Liquid democracy

Innovator: City Council candidate Camilo Casas, in Boulder, Colorado

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What was he thinking? Amid growing discontent with American democracy, Boulder City Council candidate Camilo Casas is offering a radical fix: If elected, he’ll turn over his seat to an app. It’s called parti.vote, and it would allow constituents to decide how Casas votes on any issue that comes before the council. Users could cast their own ballot, or give their vote to another user — a delegate — they trust. It’s called “liquid democracy” because users could keep changing delegates, seeking out people with expertise in the particular issue up for a vote.

Did it work? The idea has already caught on, in various forms, in Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina, the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper reports. But Casas, a behavioral health specialist and relative newcomer to the city, acknowledges he’s a bit of a long-shot candidate. Besides, parti.vote would move Boulder closer to a direct democracy, and direct democracy has its flaws — you know, tyranny of the majority and all.