The Right to Vote, Democracy, and the Electoral System

Social Philosophy Today 21:111-124 (2005)
Under the first-past-the-post electoral system that is still deeply entrenched in such democracies as Canada and the United States, it is not at all uncommon in a provincial, state, or federal election for there to be a striking lack of correspondence between the share of the seats a political party is able to win and its share of the popular vote. From the standpoint of the democratic ideal what is morally unacceptable about this system is that the right to vote it confers on members of the electorate is not a defensible instantiation of the fundamental right citizens have to participate on terms of equality in the collective decision-making processes that help to determine their options in life. Three common attempts by defenders of the system to shield it from this objection are considered and rejected
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DOI socphiltoday20052116
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