Scandinavians to Experiment with Internet Meme-Based Political System

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49,999 signatures to go.

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The ever-experimental and entertaining Finns are about to consider the first laws to come from a new legislative system subject to internet chatter. Last March, Finland modified its Constitution to encourage crowd-sourcing of ideas for new laws. The reform requires Finnish lawmakers to vote on any public proposal that receives 50,000 signatures on a petition.

Naturally, in a country where broadband internet access is a legally-binding civil right,  it took about ten seconds for someone to organize an online mechanism for submitting ideas for new laws and gathering the necessary signatures.

From Singularity's report, quoting Germany's DW newswire:

Finland has 4.2 million people who are of voting age, which translates to around 1.2 percent of voters [to reach 50,000 on a petition]. Compare this to California, for instance. The Golden State allows initiatives to be put on a ballot if around 800,000 signatures are collected or 4.7 percent of the state’s 17 million registered voters. Not only does Finland require only a quarter of what California does to get a ballot considered, but 50,000 is a much more reasonable number for a grassroots movement, in the ballpark of one-sixteenth the amount.

So far, according to Finnish organizers who spoke to the newswire, the new system has only been applied to laws that were already under debate before the Constitutional reform. Some impact from the new system was seen in votes on an animal cruelty reform bill, previously submitted by a legislator. The same story predicted the new system to generate one crowd-sourced idea per year that reaches the Finnish parliament's floor for a vote.

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