Randomly assigning members' voting rights to one Convention workshop only
WHEREAS Green Party convention workshops represent decisive focal points for the success or failure of resolutions under their review, where handfuls of activist Members can effectively veto or approve policies to which hundreds of Green Party Members would otherwise be open-minded or closed-minded respectively;
WHEREAS special interest and ideological minorities within the party have the capacity to disproportionately mobilize their votes to workshops relative to the general Membership, reducing the capacity for workshops to deliberate and impartially analyze policy and constitutional motions on behalf of the plenary;
WHEREAS all Members at each convention retain the opportunity to vote for or against each policy or constitutional motion at the floor of the plenary, but using a workshop to vote twice should be deemed as an awarded privilege given the inequality relative to those Members not present at any given workshop;
BE IT RESOLVED that new provisions under Bylaw 4, General Meetings of the Entire Membership of the Party, will be written as follows:
4.4.2 Whenever motions are divided for review by workshop votes for later recommendations to plenary, each voting Member will be assigned to a single workshop only, through a randomized process of name-selection. Member participation in assigned workshops will remain voluntary while sitting and speaking in non-assigned workshops will be permitted, but voting by a Member in a workshop to which he or she is not assigned will be prohibited.
4.4.3 The prohibition against voting at workshops to which a given Member is not assigned will not apply wherever less than ten percent (10%) of the quorum of Members would otherwise be voting at a given workshop.
At the 2014 Green Party BGM in Fredericton, Dalhousie University scientist Thomas Duck advised Members that evidence-based policymaking requires ignoring personal intuitions when considering policies with which one disagrees. But this advice is inevitably not pursued whenever like-minded Members disproportionately stack a policy workshop without the incentive to think in the negative rather than “win” for their side. For example, in discussion at the workshop of G14-P07, multiple Members immediately declared their voting intentions without requesting response to criticisms from the motion mover, with the assurance that the majority was already opposed and need not concern itself with two-sided dialogue. With G14-P08, the confirmation bias of the majority was evident in the ovation selectively given for only one side of the argument. With G14-P26, the hasty workshop judgment was not taken seriously enough by the plenary to be rejected for debate.
This motion attempts to preserve debate space for ideas with soft support bases against anxious shut-down by those most immediately conscious of their self-interests, without blocking attendance and testimony at a workshop to which one is not assigned. Randomization of voting rights would better ensure that a majority of voting Members in any workshop instance have no predetermined convictions, thereby increasing quality and two-sidedness of debate on controversial proposals.
By curtailing the exceptional power of senior party members to organize established lobbyist networks and crowd debate forums with hard support bases, this motion would also enhance grassroots democracy within the Green Party.
The exemption to the randomization rule proposes a safeguard against excessive narrowing of voting powers in the workshops.