How did it start? The story behind Janecek method
"Democracy does not mean reigning, but working to secure justice. And justice is the mathematics of humanity."
– Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
In 1947, Winston Churchill famously declared: “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried." Is democracy really as weak, ineffective and unsatisfactory form of government as it often appears? Might a better system than democracy exist? If not, does it mean that we, as a human society, must endure the ill effects of a system performing far under its potential?
My core conviction is that from a long-term perspective, no other system than democracy will work properly. As soon as the essential principle of equal suffrage is breached, the risk that the social system will eventually degenerate into some form of dictatorship, or another regime which mistreats certain individuals or groups of citizens, is significant. Such a system will necessarily be unstable from a long-term perspective and will lead to major social conflicts. Selection of high-quality political representation is a key factor for reaching the fairest and most effective functioning of society as a whole. In the case of most voting systems common today, the principle of “one man, one vote" as currently applied has aided the rise of populism and extremism. Relatively easy manipulation and control of the masses by demagogues, growing rates of voter abstention, and social polarisation seem to pose insoluble problems to the sustainability of the 21st-century democracies. These risks are significant: how can we rise to the challenge?
Janecek method (formerly known as Democracy 21) embodies the idea of finding the most acceptable consensus on the outcome of elections in a manner that is critical, constructive, objective. Reaching such a consensus would be in the general interest of most voters. The reasoning here is that if voters were provided with more space to express their preferences, not only it would be possible to find the candidate with the broadest support, but also to create such conditions of fair political competition in which the engaged voters would have more influence on the electoral outcome. Furthermore, in order to succeed a candidate must be able to attract voters of other candidates. Such conditions would contribute to reducing the influence of extremists and corrupt actors on the course of elections.
Janecek method is a novel voting method for constructive decision-making. It allows the use of multiple positive votes as well as a negative vote. By providing voters with the possibility of expressing more information than just the selection of one preferred candidate or a party, the system enables voters to identify those controversial options that divide society as well as those solutions that unite it. Any society could communicate better if instead of saying just one word, voters could express a whole sentence. Janecek method makes this possible.
The method has the potential of enhancing citizens' awareness and engagement, increasing voters’ turnout and promoting consensus. The Janecek method will motivate a more constructive and objective approach to elections worldwide. By pursuing the direction of finding ways of reaching such a consensus that would most appropriately encompass the widest interest of the electorate, we should progress towards a just society in which democracy benefits all citizens to the fullest possible extent.
Karel Janeček PhD.
Read more about Janecek method:
Voting method for everyone >
The use of Janecek method in politics >
The idea of a voting system with two seat voting districts, two plus votes and a minus vote is born as a tool to fight corruption. In order to promote it, the project Positive Evolution is presented.
In May 2013, the idea of “the effect of multiple votes” – more plus votes than winning candidates – emerges. The new voting system is called Democracy 21. We presented Democracy 21 to various institutions. Based on suggestion from experts from the World Bank, Democracy 21 is applied in the emerging sphere of civic participation through the voting software. Continuous scientific research is established.
The first large-scale representative field survey in the Czech Republic is held during the parliamentary elections on a sample of 2,533 respondents.
Another extensive representative survey is held during the Senate and municipal elections in the Czech Republic on a sample of 8,879 respondents.
Our method and D21 software application are successfully used for the first time in New York City's participatory budgeting process.
The Institute for Democracy 21 is established and so far the largest popularity project is launched - Prezident 21.
The online project Prezident 21 attracts over 300,000 Czech citizens to vote using Democracy 21 (now Janecek method). At the same time, we conduct the fourth large-scale terrain survey during the first round of the presidential elections on a sample of 2,538 respondents.
Democracy 21 changed its name and is now called Janecek method.