"Federal authorities have charged a New York man with building a 200-pound (90-kilogram) bomb they say he planned to detonate on Election Day on the National Mall in Washington. Paul Rosenfeld, 56, of Tappan, was charged Wednesday with unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device and interstate transportation and receipt of an explosive. Prosecutors said he planned to use the bomb to kill himself and draw attention to a political system called sortition, in which public officials are chosen randomly rather than elected."From Wikipedia:
In governance, sortition (also known as choice by lot, allotment, or demarchy) is the selection of political officials as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates. Sortition ensures all competent and interested parties have an equal chance of holding public office. It also minimizes factionalism, since there would be no point making promises to win over key constituencies if one was to be chosen by lot. Elections, by contrast, foster factionalism. For that reason, when the time came to choose individuals to be assigned to empowering positions, the ancient Athenians resorted to choosing by lot. In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the traditional and primary method for appointing political officials, and its use was regarded as a principal characteristic of true democracy.More at the link on the theory, and on historical examples of its utilization. One of the examples cited is "picking a school class monitor by drawing straws." Here are some other excerpts:
Compared to a voting system – even one that is open to all citizens – a citizen-wide lottery scheme for public office lowers the threshold to office. This is because ordinary citizens do not have to compete against more powerful or influential adversaries in order to take office, and because the selection procedure does not favour those who have pre-existing advantages or connections – as invariably happens with election by preference.The chance of American elected officials approving the utilization of sortition is, of course, one in a hundred gazillion bazillion, plus or minus.
These Greeks recognized that sortition broke up factions, diluted power, and gave positions to such a large number of disparate people that they would all keep an eye on each other making collusion fairly rare.
The most common argument against pure sortition (that is, with no prior selection of an eligible group) is that it does not discriminate among those selected and takes no account of particular skills or experience that might be needed to effectively discharge the particular offices to be filled.
Because it introduces randomness in determining outcomes, there is always the statistical possibility that sortition may put into power an individual or group that do not represent the views of the population from which they were drawn... This argument applies to juries, but less to larger groups where the probability of, for example, an oppressive majority, are statistically insignificant.