What is Public Consultation?

Public consultation is a way to improve democratic governance by helping governments consult representative samples of citizens on important public policy proposals.

Public consultations go beyond the limitations of standard polls, by providing in-depth information and increasing the number of topics on which the public can meaningfully make recommendations.

Representative samples of voters go through a policymaking simulation in which they are briefed, and evaluate pro and con arguments before weighing-in on the issue. The goal is for citizens to be put in the shoes of a policymaker.

Using scientific methods of random sampling, a sample is chosen and weighted to reflect the population census on all major demographic identifiers, producing an accurate microcosm of the district, state or nation.

Public consultations sometimes include forums (virtual or in-person) at  which the findings of a public consultation survey are revealed, and Members of Congress and their constituents discuss the findings and the issues.

Universities and nonpartisan civic organizations, including Voice of the People, have been conducting these public consultations in states and districts across the country, and are ramping up to do more.

Through surveys and events, including electronic town halls, constituents are briefed, evaluate competing arguments and weigh in on issues before Congress.