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Sortition, or selection by lot, from the Latin sortiri,
has a long history of use, going back to the ancient Solonian
Constitution of Athens, and serving the Republic of Venice well
for 760 years. Rule by lot is called demarchy or klerostocracy,
from the Greek kleros (κλερος)
casting lots. Today it is mainly used for the selection of juries,
but the abuses of the electoral process, resulting from the need
for candidates to raise large sums of money from donors who expect
something in return, and the politicization of the appointment or
election of judges, makes it appropriate to consider amending
constitutions and laws to make more use of various forms of
Fetura, from the Latin for breeding, is a combination of
alternating random selection and fitness screening. It is also the
principle of genetic or evolutionary algorithms.
Republic of Venice 1268-1797
Toss for It: A Surprising Curb on Political Greed, by
Sigmund Knag, Independent
Review, Vol. 3 No. 2, Autumn 1998.
Venetian selection system
of the Constitutions of the United States, Vol.
I, Letter XIX: Venice, by John Adams, 1787. History of the
Republic of Venice and their use of sortition in a
Most Serene Republic of Venice. From
Cambridge Modern History, Vol. I, Chapter VIII, by Horatio
Brown. Outline of constitution: Great Council; Senate; the
Republic of Florence, about 1115-1434, movement to
restore 1465. Corrupted by Medici family through its
Republic of Genoa, about 1339-1797 Not so much a
republic as a dogate.
History of Genoa,
to Pick Our Leaders: Should We Try a Lottery?, by Dick
Dougherty, The Independent Institute, January 7, 1999.
Classical Athenian Democracy, Christopher blackwell,
editor. Site devoted to the analysis and discussion of how
sortition worked in ancient Athens.
and Sortition, article on "Archon", The Encyclopedia
Britannica, Eleventh Ed., Vol. II, 1910.