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Abstract

In this introduction, we discuss the importance of innovation in advancing deliberative democratic theory and practice. Prior examples reviewed include the Citizens’ Jury, the Deliberative Poll, the British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly, and particularly the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review. We then preview the five essays that make up this special section of the Journal of Public Deliberation, which collects writings by graduate students who participated in a summer seminar on deliberative democracy. These essays propose ways to advance electoral deliberation in the U.S. and Guam, in classrooms, newsrooms, meeting rooms, and online discussions. The innovations suggest new ways to think about lobbying, teaching, reporting, campaigning, and voting, and many combine different deliberative mechanisms to maximize the potential for public talk to create a more inclusive and influential deliberative politics.

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