Swiss town tests citizen panel to help voters analyse information


The municipality of Sion in southwestern Switzerland is planning a participative democracy experiment, first tried out in the US state of Oregon, that places randomly selected locals on a citizen panel in the lead up to national referendums.

Various inhabitants of the canton Valais municipality will be asked to form a citizen panel that will prepare a report on one of the issues to be put to vote next February 9. The group discussions are to take place this November and will last four days.

The experiment, which is directly inspired by the Citizens’ Initiative Review introduced in the US state of Oregon in 2010, is being run as part of a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) research project.

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