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Cafe Inquiry

October 30, 2018
6:15 pm - 8:15 pm

(Shaw) Watha T. Daniel Branch Library
1630 7th St. NW
Washington, DC US

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Organized by:
Center for Inquiry–DC (CFI–DC)


This month’s discussion topic is: Voting and Democracy

In honor of the upcoming election, we will be discussing democratic systems. Voting is the hallmark of most forms of democratic government. It distinguishes democracy from all other governmental systems. However, civic understanding of democratic systems of government is sometimes startlingly low.

On a civic level, modern democratic systems have principles that give the democratic institution its legitimacy: the right to vote, one-person-one-vote, and free and fair elections. What is rules of the road are necessary for a functioning democracy? What restrictions, if any, should we place on the right to vote? How can we evaluate how open an election is?

Democratic systems, the nuts and bolts of how democracy works, vary widely. In ancient Greece, the city-states commonly used the only form of democracy without elections: direct democracy. The U.S. largely uses single member districts to choose our representatives. In short we choose one member to represent a defined district. It’s not unheard of to have multi-member districts for small town councils or school districts, where the top five candidates who get the most votes are placed on the governing body. The U.S. is also relatively unique, outside of the U.S. most democratic systems use proportional representation. What are the pros of each system? What are the negatives?

After the discussion we will head over to Beau Thai down the street for those who wish to have food and continue the conversation. Hope to see you there.