To the extent that some [voters] have a natural tendency to believe whatever the majority of ads they hear on such topics tell them, such shallow folks are in effect offering to believe whatever the most monetarily-eager advertisers want them to believe. For such shallow folks, money-wise the loud can indeed drown out the less loud. …
If corporations are silenced … not only would that hinder non-shallow voters from getting info from corporations, the total distortion by shallow voters is not obviously reduced! … Mechanically, it would be straightforward to limit the franchise by age, income, IQ, education, knowledge test scores, etc. … Shallowness can vary with person, topic, and context. If it is rare, we can ignore it, but it is more common than not we need to seriously revise who can vote on what.
Now shallow voters, who just believe whatever a majority of ads say, are probably not a big problem. After all, campaign spending seems remarkably ineffective. But we could benefit from better informed and more attentive voters, so it’s worth considering reforms to get that. Reducing who can vote is only one of many options:
- Juries – randomly select a small jury of voters to participate in each election. Each juror chosen would know they have a much better chance of making a difference, and so would pay more attention.
- Rotation – rotate voters across years and offices, so that they do not always vote on everything. This would also focus voter attention because they would know they made more of a difference.
- Topic – divide policies into topics, and let each voter pick their specialty topic. Votes among topic specialists would somehow set policy on that topic.
- Jury Foremen – randomly group citizens in each neighborhood into juries of thirteen, and have each jury, well in advance, elect a foreman to vote in the general election. They’d elect smart foremen, little constrained on how to vote.
- More ideas?
Why are all those folks, so very concerned that firms with free speech might manipulate shallow voters, so uninterested in these options?