What is direct democracy?

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Direct democracy is a type of democracy wherein citizens or people of a particular country or community make the actual decisions regarding the laws and policies applicable to them. In a direct democracy, the people themselves will cast their votes for or against a certain rule or policy. When there are elected government officials involved, it also the people who will choose for them to stay or go in case they don’t’ perform their functions well.

Direct democracy is often compared with indirect or representative type of democracy. In many countries, the representative type is the most common for national governments. In this type of democracy, people basically vote or elect for representatives in the government who will be in-charge of national concerns. The representatives or chosen government officials will then enact and create laws for all their citizens. In a direct democracy, no such representatives are chosen to take care of laws and policies. The people themselves have a direct contribution into how things are done in a particular country or community.

A typical example of a direct democracy is in small town meetings in different communities across the US and other countries. In town meetings, no official is voted for or becomes representative of the people. People who attend the town meetings collectively have the power to create laws and make referendums for existing laws. If there are certain issues that need to be addressed, those who attend the town meetings vote among themselves on what needs to be done. New policies and fund or project allocations within the community are voted for and against by the people through direct democracy. With direct democracy in this setup, people in a community can basically exercise their power and become part of the overall decision-making in their town or locality.