Legislature by lot: Envisioning sortition within a bicameral system

John Gastil, Erik Olin Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In this article, we review the intrinsic democratic flaws in electoral representation, lay out a set of principles that should guide the construction of a sortition chamber, and argue for the virtue of a bicameral system that combines sortition and elections. We show how sortition could prove inclusive, give citizens greater control of the political agenda, and make their participation more deliberative and influential. We consider various design challenges, such as the sampling method, legislative training, and deliberative procedures. We explain why pairing sortition with an elected chamber could enhance its virtues while dampening its potential vices. In our conclusion, we identify ideal settings for experimenting with sortition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-330
Number of pages28
JournalPolitics and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations


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