FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How Is the Number of Delegates of the Assembly Determined?

New Unity wanted the number of Delegates that statistically assures 99% confidence that any vote of the Assembly will reflect the will of the people within a range of about 5% (known as the “margin of error”). Consequently, if half the Assembly plus 5% (meaning at least 55%) of the Assembly vote to approve a measure, there can be 99% confidence that the Assembly represents the majority of Americans – effectively the will of the people. That’s the reason the Assembly rules require a 55% majority to adopt any measure.


What Is the Math that Resulted in 600 Delegates? 

First we have to determine the size of the population from which we will draw Delegates. There are 329.54 million people in the USA as of August 31 2019[1]. Of those approximately 250 million are eligible to vote. Of those 250 million, approximately 66% (165 million) qualify to be a Delegate after exclusions for some reason other than voting age (for example, excluding those who cannot vote or be a Delegate because they are presently incarcerated or because they are not US citizenship). Then we use a standard statistical formula to determine the number of Delegates that we need to assure a 99% confidence that any decision of the Delegates reflects the population within a 5% margin of error. Based on these calculations, 600 people would be necessary for 5.27% margin of error.


What Is the Statistical Process by which  Delegates are selected?

This method of selection is called “Sortition”. This is an efficient way to determine the will of the people. If a large enough group is randomly selected from a population, that group will reflect most of the characteristics of the population. The degree of confidence that the option of the group will reflect the total population increases with a larger group. This is the basis for modern polls and surveys that ask questions of a few hundred randomly selected people.


I've never heard of anything like this. Has this ever been done before?

Yes. We do it now in the US. Direct citizen involvement in government occurs everyday when jurors are chosen to sit on a jury to decide on the administration of justice.  Our point is that citizens should not only be involved in the judicial branch - but also the legislative branch.  If citizens input is valuable in enforcing the law - it should also be valuable in making law. The jurors are chosen by modified lottery from a database of citizens. Then those chosen are vetted in a process called "voire dire" whereby the group of jurors is narrowed by the judge or by opposing lawyers based on qualifications to sit on a jury.


Why Are Some Groups Excluded? Does That Impair the Overall Goal?

Just as jurors are chosen and then vetted based on certain qualifications (as described in the prior FAQ) we vet delegates based on some reasonable qualifications.


The goal is a group that reflects the will of the general population as if they’d voted. Some groups are excluded because they are not permitted to vote in any election. Such as prison inmates. Some are excluded, like those with serious mental illness or those without a H.S. diploma, because Delegates require certain skills to effectively participate in the wide range of issues that will come before the Assembly. The exclusion of certain groups does not have a meaningful adverse impact on the Assembly’s objectives.


How Does This Compare to Our Current System?

For comparison, only 56% of the population that is eligible to vote actually did so in the 2016 election (this data point is known as the participation rate). That’s 140 million people who chose those who is to represent the 325 million Americans. And the 2016 participation rate was slightly more than the participation percentage in 2012. Source: Pew Research Center. US voter participation ranks only 26 out of 32 developed countries. And US voters are skewed.  Furthermore, some groups participate in elections greater or lesser than others. For example, people under 30 and African Americans participation rate is lower than the national average. 


The Assembly's delegates are drawn from all citizens - regardless of whether they are registered to vote.  This results in a fuller and better representation of all the people.


What impact Does the Eligibility Requirements Have on the Selection?

The impact of expanding representation to those who are non-registered to vote or who were unable to vote far exceeds any of the limitations due to eligibility qualifications


Estimated Adjustment to Represented Population

+ 46.0% of people gain because they were unable to vote /did not vote/ are not registered to vote.

            They are reflected in the Delegate sample.

- 13.0% are ineligible because they do not hold a HS diploma

-    7.0% are ineligible because they are not citizens, according to The Kaiser Foundation[2]

-    3.0% are ineligible because they are naturalized citizens for less than the qualifying 9 years.[3]

-    2.1% are ineligible because they are in prison or on parole[4]

-    4.5% are ineligible due to  a serious mental illness[5] (“SMI”)

-    5.5% are ineligible because they are Lobbyist or are Party Partisan[6]

-    0.4% are ineligible because they have active duty military

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Some of the above groups overlap and so the net impact differs [7]


What Are Sources of Your Information/ Data?

The following are sources of the information / data used in this FAQ.

[1]Source: US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/popclock/

[2] Citizenship Status. https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/distribution-by-citizenship-status/?currentTimeframe=0&selectedDistributions=non-citizen&selectedRows=%7B%22wrapups%22:%7B%22united-states%22:%7B%7D%7D%7D&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

[3] New Unity estimate from various data.

[4] Parole & Probation. 2018. The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/parole-and-probation-have-grown-far-beyond-resources-allocated-to-support-them-98372

[5] Serious Mental Illness. 2018, National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) a unit of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml

[6] New Unity estimate from various data.

[7] There is significant overlap between SMI and people in prison or on parole. 20% pf people in prison have SMI. In addition 30% of prisoners and parolees did not receive a HS diploma. The data was adjusted to correct for the overlap. See https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/evidence-and-research/learn-more-about/3695and https://nces.ed.gov/blogs/nces/2017/01/11/default

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