By the People — through its local public television and community organization partners — hosted Citizen Deliberations in 11 communities around the country focused on the rights and responsibilities of citizens, as they relate to issues of local importance. The local deliberations were accompanied by a national Online Deliberative Poll exploring 21st century citizenship in America. Weekly discussions were held online using audio chat software developed for deliberative polling®. Participants joined a circular meeting space for a moderated discussion using their computer microphones.
The Deliberative Poll questioned an initial random sample of Vermonters, recruited them to spend a weekend deliberating the issues of how Vermont should meet its future electricity needs, and then questioned them again at the conclusion of the weekend sessions. The results addressed a large number of policy issues: for example, what reliance should be placed on energy efficiency and on energy from various sources like wind, nuclear, and hydro in meeting Vermont’s future electricity needs.
In October 2007, the first EU-wide, indeed the first transnational, Deliberative Poll® gathered a random sample of 362 citizens from all 27 EU member states to the European Parliament building in Brussels, where they spent a weekend deliberating about a variety of social, economic, and foreign policy issues affecting the European Union and its member states. The deliberation, in a total of 23 languages, with simultaneous translation, alternated between small group discussion led by trained moderators and plenary question-and-answer sessions with leading policy experts and prominent politicians.
The social and economic situation of the Roma is one of the most serious problems caused by the transition in Bulgaria. This issue increasingly affects the whole society. The Roma live in extreme poverty, they are isolated in ghettos, they lack adequate education, and they have few opportunities to find a job. Generations of Roma live only on welfare.
Over the weekend of March 24-25 a scientific sample of the residents of the Torino region engaged in a unique experiment in public consultation about two difficult issues—the right to vote for immigrants and the proposed TAV high speed train for connecting Turino and Lyon.
For the first time ever, a scientific random sample of parents in Northern Ireland deliberated about a serious public policy issue-their children's educational future. The occasion was a Deliberative Poll, held in Omagh on 27 January 2007. The random sample brought together Protestants and Catholics of all shades of opinion, who then deliberated in small-group discussions and plenary sessions with panels of experts representing different policy perspectives. This was the first Deliberative Poll in a deeply divided society.
Regione Lazio asked a representative sample of the population to get informed and discuss health care and financial investment ethics. The result: at the end of the discussion, they knew much more about both issues and their opinion changed.
One of the two leading political parties in Greece, PASOK, used Deliberative Polling® to select its candidate for mayor in the city of Marousi. Marousi is where the Olympics were held and is in the Athens area. This is the first time that a political party has used Deliberative Polling to democratize candidate selection. The Deliberative Poll serves the same function as a primary. If the experiment is successful, we anticipate wider use for the same purpose.
Nearly one thousand adult Americans engaged in a national scientific experiment to see what the public would think about education and health care—if only people became more informed about the issues and talked about them together.
The Deliberative Poll in Zeguo Township, Wenling City, China, is the first to our knowledge that was conducted by the government itself and then actually implemented as a way of making public policy. We believe it is the first case in modern times of fully representative and deliberative participatory budgeting. It harks back to a form of democracy quite different from modern western style party competition – Ancient Athens.