“Mexico City just launched a massive experiment in digital democracy. It is asking its nearly 9 million residents to help draft a new constitution through social media.
… There’s a big catch, however. The constitutional assembly—the body that has the final word on the new city’s basic law—is under no obligation to consider any of the citizen input. And then there are the practical difficulties of collecting and summarizing the myriad of views dispersed throughout one of the world’s largest cities.
… The mechanisms, embedded in an online platform (Spanish) that offers various ways to weigh in, were launched at the end of March and will collect inputs until September 1
… In Mexico City, where many citizens already feel left out, the first big hurdle is to convince them it’s worth participating.
… There are various levels of participation on offer, from ranking the city’s biggest problems in an online survey to making detailed comments on draft proposals. For people without internet access, 300 computer kiosks have been set up throughout the city with staff to guide them through the process.
… Ideas are grouped into 18 topics, such as direct democracy, transparency and economic rights. They are prioritized based on the amount of support they’ve garnered and how relevant they are, said Bernardo Rivera, an adviser for the city. Drafters get a weekly delivery of summarized citizen petitions.
… The drafting group has pledged to respond to petitions on Change.org with more than 5,000 signatures, and to have a few of its members meet with petitioners who gather more than 10,000. More than 50,000 signatures earns an audience with the full committee.”