Currently we use a representative democracy, where we vote for a single representative who then decides almost everything. This means that we may have to vote for a representative who agrees with 80% of our beliefs, but who we disagree with 20% of the time, because he is the closest 'fit' to our actual beliefs.
There is an idea of a direct, or pure, democracy where everyone votes on each issue, rather then having a representative to stand in on these votes, which theoretically could allow a more accurate representation of our actual beliefs by allowing us to give the answer we want on each issue directly.
Unfortunately a direct democracy is rather impracticale for any decent size of people. Setting up polls every few years to pick representatives is already a hard and expensive process, but doing it for every single vote would cost too much, and people wouldn't want to wait in line to vote on every issue.
However, with our new technology online direct democracy votes have become pretty common, though on much less important issues like reality show winners. I'm wondering what would happen if we could manage something like this for important government decisions.
One of the biggest issues with online direct voting is the possibility of fraud is considered too high. For the sake of this question please ignore that possibility, assume we have created methodologies, technology etc to the point that each person gets only one vote and the threat of fraud is no higher then we face with our current polling systems.
The other big issue is that a system that required going online to vote would make it harder (though not impossible now of days) for the very poor to vote, anyone without a computer, smart phone, or other home-accessible means of going online. I also would like to not focus too much attention to this issue right now, while recognizing the possibility, by assuming that some sort of approach has been implemented to assist those that are poor. I'm happy to hear suggestions for how to minimize this risk, but for the sake of this question assume that the poor have approximately the same ability to vote as middle class and above, or at least the same ability to vote relative to middle class as they have now (no doubt that can't afford cars are unfairly underrepresented now in areas that don't have good public transportation currently).
This question only assumes that the ability to do instantaneous and reliable political votes from home or even smart phone is possible, not that were using a direct democracy. My main question is rather we would convert to a direct democracy, maintain our current representative democracy, or choose some hybrid with representatives for some votes and direct votes for others.
Going along with this how would politics be adjusted by the presence of (the possibility) of direct votes. Would the common populations be better represented? In particular it seems that some people would follow politics, and thus vote, more often then others. Would political decision become more strongly effected by individuals who bother to vote and thus be slanted in favor of certain groups or factions (again, assuming that the poor somehow have the same ease of access to quick online votes as the rich). Would the net effect be policies more aligned with the median desire of the population?
Finally, would this change the way that votes were courted? Would certain factions be courted for votes more because they are more prone to voting, for example? I may ask a follow up question on this last part, so there isn't as much need to go into detail here as the above two questions, but I'm curious about any concepts that may help influence what follow up question I ask.