Edited By Stephen Coleman, Anna Przybylska and Yves Sintomer
Katherine R. Knobloch, John Gastil & Tyrone Reitman - Chapter One. Connecting Micro-Deliberation to Electoral Decision Making: Institutionalizing the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review
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Katherine R. Knobloch, John Gastil & Tyrone Reitman
Chapter One. Connecting Micro-Deliberation to Electoral Decision Making: Institutionalizing the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review
Introduction: Deliberative Events and (the Lack of) Institutionalization
The theory, practice, and study of public deliberation has undergone expansive growth over the past two decades, and it has given rise to—or theoretically framed—several novel opportunities for community discussion and empowered citizen decision making (Gastil and Levine 2005; Goodin and Dryzek 2006; Nabatchi et al. 2012)1. Few of these processes, however, have been institutionalized as formal parts of governing systems and granted official decision-making power or other forms of direct influence. In other words, most such processes are typically disconnected from the very decisions they seek to influence.
The Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) is one deliberative event that has been granted governmental legitimacy as a means of public voice, if not authoritative decision making. The CIR was developed to improve the quality of information available to voters regarding state-wide initiatives by connecting small-scale deliberation with electoral decision making. Briefly, CIR organizers convened representative groups of twenty-four registered Oregon voters for five days to study and deliberate on statewide initiatives. At the end of their deliberations, each panel of citizens wrote a page of analysis about their assigned initiative for the official Oregon State Voters’ Pamphlet, which the Secretary of State delivered along with mail-in ballots to every registered voter in the state. As many...
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