How do you select the people for a CA?

I’m really interested how you select the people for the CA. Do people just sign up online to have their say?

I believe people are chosen at random using a process called Sortition.

I doubt if this process we’ll be successful. You are better off electing your members based on their ideas and commitment. Waste of time otherwise.


It depends what you are trying to achieve with your ‘assembly’. If it is to discover ‘the will of the people’ then there is now ample evidence from hundreds of assemblies around the world that this works very well. At the core of this type of deliberative assembly is the idea that you must have a representative ‘mini-public’ if you want to discover what the people think when they are given the time and conditions in which to do so. Fundamental to this is that you must avoid self-selection, otherwise you just end up with the usual groups of motivated (and often partisam) people. This is fine in other contexts and for different types of assembly, but to represent citizens as well as you possibly can the only way is to select them “randomly”. In practice it’s a bit more complicated, but you’ll find more information about how it’s done here:

1 Like

Hi Peter,

My vision of a global Citizens Assembly is very much like a parliament. Members are elected at the local level ie village, city, nation, and elected by a global ballot, using our modern technology. An organization working alongside the United Nations. But Citizen based instead of Nation based.

The issue with electing people is that you end up with the same system as you do now. Choices made without evidence, lobbying, career politicians. Two key factors in the Citizens’ Assembly is the random selection of the participants and the deliberation between these people.

A good book to read is David van Reybrouck’s Against Elections. In there there is a good diagram (from someone else in the field) about how you could scale this up to run a country.

The question asked here was a reasonable and cogent question, but I do not see a definitive response. Where does one actually go to get concrete answers to questions like this?

Can give you a concrete answer for how the Sortition Foundation selects. SF use the postcode database and send out a large number of invites to a random set of addresses in an area. The respondents fill in a web survey or phone up the SF 0800 number and give information about themselves. This information is used to stratify the respondents according to the criteria chosen by the people organising the CA. Then people are randomly selected from those.