Direct/Participatory Democracy

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Direct/Participatory Democracy - Use Areas

Direct/participatory democracies are implemented by Podemos in Spain, Five Star Movement in Italy and the Momentum Movement in Hungary. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna are four football clubs in Spain in which the President and other major offices are democratically elected by the members directly. In Israel, the mayor of Jerusalem is directly elected by the residents of Jerusalem and the Likud Party primaries also practice direct party democracy by its members.


Five Star Movement

The Italian political party Five Star Movement (M5S) in resolving whether to join the far-right Lega or League in a coalition government didn't retreat into a conclave of party leaders but asked its members to vote online in May 2018 and in turn, received the overwhelming support of 94% of the voters. The process was a perfect example of using digital technology in 21st-century politics, the platform made digital democracy its core. According to Gianroberto Casaleggio, "Ordinary citizens will become protagonists, abandoning the current system of delegate democracy in the hands of politicians". As a result of the success of the M5S participatory platform, new parties have also joined the digital democracy movement.


Podemos is a political party in Spain in which through their Consul participation system, has skillfully utilized social media channels to become one of the most popular political organizations in Spain. Podemos offers a platform for the registered members to vote online in primaries, internal affairs, attend online training events etc. The party has a participatory portal which is named Participa and Podemos hasn't witnessed any case of rank and file rebellion since it started holding online referendum since 2014.

Momentum Movement

Momentum Movement is a Hungarian political party that "burst on the political scene when they started collecting signatures for a referendum on Hungary’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in Budapest." They strongly believe that in a democracy, such decisions have to be made with the consultation and consent of the people and that the decision to bid for the Olympics was made without consulting Hungarians, and even worse, it would not have been in their interest

Cantons of Rojava

Cantons of Rojava uses a social revolution that is based upon a set of values that assert a radical form of direct, grassroots democracy and the recognition of gender, religious, and ethnic equality among all citizens. It practises a democratic confederalism that grants its citizens and their communities the right to self-determination, local autonomy, and freedom of expression, whereby, every formal political formation from the citizen’s councils of the local neighbourhoods to the heads of the various ministries and the elected heads of the regional administrative bodies must be co-chaired by both a man and a woman. By pursuing a model of a co-operative economy that blends co-operative and private enterprise, it explicitly rejects the nation-state as a political form, that means a system that administers a territory while avoiding the hierarchical systems that characterize formal state structures — stateless democracy.


Flux is an Australian based political movement whose goal is to substitute the world's elected legislatures with a new system known as issue-based direct democracy (IBDD). "In IBDD, voters would still have the right to vote directly on every issue or delegate their vote to someone else, but unlike in liquid democracy, voters can choose to forego votes on one issue to use on another issue". With this, voters are given the opportunity to reserve their voting chances for the issues that are of the best interest to them. Such vote specialization or preference allows citizens to participate effectively in issue-based direct democracy without having to focus on every issue as they would in regular direct democracy.



Swiss company Haufe-Umantis uses a system where employees of the company vote on all important business decisions, including who gets to fill the leadership positions. The leaders are elected on a yearly basis and even have the right to call for a referendum.

How the Haufe-umantis system operates

  • The group decides democratically what to do, by raising their hands.
  • The response of the people is that the practice provides clarity about the major decision-making of the company. All employees are involved in the process and are aligned with the outcome. Collectively they vote for a certain direction, so they’re naturally more inclined and motivated to make it work. And they also say the practice is a good check to see if management is not getting completely out of reality.


Democracyos is an open source digital governance tool for small communities, corporations, large cities & whole nations. It has an inbuilt Sovereign protocol with smart contracts that allows governance for any kind of organization based on two key pillars:
A peer to peer democracy, which lets you elect among friends and people you trust.

No central authority is required for accountability. Whether it's a small community or a whole nation, decisions get stored using a blockchain & executed with 100% transparent transactions.


Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atheltic Bilbao, Osasuna in Spain practice collaborative decision-making with their members. These four clubs in Spain, maintain the tradition of socio ownership, in which the President and other major offices are democratically elected via a vote, and a cluster of peñas, or members' club act as focal points of the club's culture and tradition at local, regional, national and international levels. The members believe the process enables them to be more involved in the running of the club and are positive about it.

Direct/participatory in Israel

The mayoral election process in Jerusalem utilizes a direct/participatory democracy system to directly elect its mayor via a vote which involves voting for ONE candidate by putting a slip of paper his or her name in an envelope.

All registered party members and the party’s supporters determine through a primary vote on who gets to lead them.

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Direct/Participatory Democracy - Technological Platforms

Notable examples of e-voting technology platform include Scytl, e-Vox, Follow My Vote, and Coalichain. The U.S. Primary Season Election used Scytl in 2018. The platforms are elaborated below including insights into which platforms work with direct democracy.


  • Scytl
Scytl offers online and remote voting that is secure. It claims to increase voter participation and minimize costs. Further, the platform guarantees the integrity and transparency of the voting process; therefore, it is suitable for direct democracy.

  • Coalichain
Coalichain is based on blockchain technology and provides e-voting governance. The platform allows leaders to influence people and communicate with members.

  • Follow My Vvote
Also based on blockchain technologies, Follow My Vote claims to secure votes and is cost-effective and technologically superior. The company behind this technology sought to disrupt the voting industry through block chain technologies with advanced capabilities.

  • E-VOX
e-Vox is an open e-democracy Ethereum based platform. It provides voting solutions for communities, parliaments, primaries, e-petitions, electronic referendum, and other political and voting processes.


The process commences with voter authentication through pre-existing or new voting authentication techniques that are password based or use digital certificates. Once authenticated, the voters are permitted to vote. Then the votes are encrypted in the voters’ device; thus, the selection is kept private throughout the casting, transmission, and tallying process. More advanced platforms are now using block chain technologies to decentralized data and secure it via hacker resistant cryptography capabilities.

Once encrypted, the votes are cast in digital ballot boxes. Then, a voting server checks the validity of the votes without decrypting the votes or breaking the privacy. Recording and verification by ballot box servers ensure the accuracy of the counting process. Lastly, the election closes, all votes cast are mixed and decrypted to break the correlation between encrypted votes & voters; therefore, promoting voter privacy during decryption and tallying.


The Scytl platform supports direct democracy. Moreover, it is transforming elections by securing voting and making it more accessible, auditable and transparent. The 2018 Primary Election in the U.S. used Scytl, which also supports “election night reporting, online voter education, and online election worker training.” For instance, election night reporting managed to register voters in 53 counties. Equally, 15 counties used voter education to obtain critical information regarding voting.

The scytl platform begins the voting exercise by authenticating registered voters; next, the voting starts with the encryption of results; then the votes are verified by ballot box servers; lastly, the votes are decrypted for counting and validation of votes content.


Scytl was also used during the 2018 Midterm Elections in the U.S. where a total of over 70 million voters from 900 counties across the U.S. successfully deployed the technology to support direct democracy. The platform has also been used in Spain, the European Union Parliament in Spain, and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs France. Similarly, Estonia used the e-voting platform for approximately 50% of the counted votes, i.e., 247,232 out of 561,131 votes that were cast online. i-voting (as it is called by Estonian) commenced earlier from around the 10th until the fourth day before the election. The early start is because it is impossible to do online voting on Election Day.

Did this report spark your curiosity?


From Part 01
  • "When Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S) had to resolve whether or not to join the far-right Lega, or League, in a coalition government last May, it didn’t retreat into a conclave of party leaders. It asked members to vote online. An overwhelming 94% supported the move"
  • "The old party system appears in serious distress, faced with challengers using digital technology as a means to achieve the utopian goal of a more democratic society"
  • "In 2014 Podemos’ selected its 5 MEP’s through Agora Voting, a third-party platform, which enabled 33.000 Spanish citizens to the participate at the primaries. This application reads the location of the user and allows Podemos to hold local, regional and state level elections, and it has been used in all the 30 votings that Podemos has held"
  • "Using voting pads that looked like Zack Morris's cell phone in "Saved by the Bell," voting had to be redone in the first round due to many people not being sure how to vote. That resulted in not enough votes cast to tally, and of course this had to happen in Florida. No recount though, just a redo"
  • "Employees of this company vote on all important business decisions, including who will fill the leadership positions. And they elect these leaders every single year! They even have the right to call for a referendum"
  • "Members will have the right to vote if they are over the age of 18, with full capacity to act, and have at least one year of affiliation with club"
  • "In the Spanish context, four clubs maintain the tradition of socio ownership, in which the President and other major offices are democratically elected, and cluster of peñas, or members' club act as focal points of the club's culture and tradition at local, regional, national and international levels"
  • "Involves voting for ONE candidate by putting a slip of paper his or her name in an envelope. This year, local election day is also a day off work as long as you live in a municipality with elections, so that’s nice too"
  • "A platform that rewards the best arguments and filters that noise that usually ends up calling the trolls."
  • "Building incorruptible digital governance for small and large communities in a post Nation-State world."
  • "Rojava is an enclave whose inhabitants have fashioned a place of security, gender equality, economic cooperation, and a unique form of localized direct democracy that has no equivalent elsewhere. "
  • "Flux is a gateway Australians can use, to participate directly in parliament, making the need for trust in elected officials a thing of the past. Elected Flux MPs and Senators give up their autonomy and use their votes in line with the outcomes produced by the Flux ecosystem; an ecosystem comprised of ordinary Aussies like you."
From Part 02
  • "Online voting enables voter authentication via pre-existing or new voting authentication methods (digital certificates, password based credentials, etc.) Once authenticated, voter credentials are securely generated and delivered giving voters the means to verify that their vote has been cast-as-intended, recorded-as-cast and counted-as-recorded."
  • "Scytl has successfully delivered election modernization projects in the US since 2008, and most recently for the 2018 Midterm Elections, where over 70M voters from more than 900 U.S. counties successfully leveraged Scytl’s technology. "
  • "Also, during 2016 US Presidential Election Scytl’s technology provided over 53 million registered voters and thousands of election staff across 28 states the benefits of more efficient, scalable and accessible election processes, consolidating Scytl as the leading election modernization provider in the United States."
  • "This month's Estonian parliamentary elections set a new digital record: almost half the counted votes were cast online — 247,232 out of 561,131. In the tiny Baltic state, the overall winner of this year's election, the center-right Reform Party, also won the online election, receiving 40 percent of the e-votes"