Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 November 2021
Democracy is not only about voting. Deliberation plays an important role as well. Just like voting, deliberation can occur behind closed doors in the shadows or be subject to the glare of sunlight. In this chapter I argue that deliberation among representatives in a legislature ought to occur behind closed doors and away from the glare of sunlight, but only if it is structured properly. More specifically, I propose a new way of institutionalizing secret deliberation that secures its benefits while avoiding its costs. The key is to add external accountability mechanisms of a very specific kind to the deliberative process and to select participants in the secret deliberative body in a very particular way. If we do both things, then democratic deliberation is optimized when it occurs behind closed doors.