In my post on choosing government officials, I mentioned one method of choosing representatives that has a great deal of potential.
It would eliminate the need for campaign financing and the pressure for laws that restrict free speech in the name of cleaner elections. It would mean that no one would have to be represented by a member of a different party. I call this system, subscription.
Under this system, instead of having an election to chose one legislator, people contract with a like minded citizen to represent them. Unlike most legislatures, where each member has an equal vote, under subscription each member has a number of votes equal to the number of people who have chosen him as their representative. Likewise the order and time for debate of each member would be determined by the number of people who had chosen the member.
Some may object that this would result in an unmanageably large legislature. However under subscription, the citizens not only chose their legislator, they pay him. The contract which each constituent signed would have a compensation clause committing each constituent to pay the representative X amount per month. The result of this would be a tendency for constituents and representative to want each representative to have a large number of constituents. To illustrate this point a representative with a million constituents could charge a cent per month and have a salary of $10,000, where as a representative with 50,000 constituents would have to charge 20 cents to have the same salary.
In addition to eliminating the problems of campaign finance and representation by a person you voted against, subscription would be much more responsive to the demands of the voters. They could contractually bind their representative to vote in accordance to their wishes or they could simply withdraw their vote from their current representative and give it to one they thought would better represent them.
Subscription also has the virtue that unlike systems requiring elections the plethora of polling places, poll workers and poll watchers would not be necessary. Instead a credentialing committee could check to make sure that the people contracting with the representative really exist and that they have contracted with the representative. This makes subscription especially valuable in instances where a formal organization is not already in place.
In sum, subscription is democratic, is more responsive than systems based on election, doesn’t have the campaign finance problems of elections, and allows everyone to be represented by a person of their choice.