Public Affairs Quarterly 23 (4):279-286 (2009)

Nathan Hanna
Drexel University
I argue that voting abstention may be obligatory under certain non-trivial conditions. Following recent work on voting ethics, I argue that the obligation to abstain under certain conditions follows from a duty not to vote badly. Whether one votes badly, however, turns on more than one's reasons for wanting a particular candidate elected or policy implemented. On my account, one's reasons for voting at all also matter, and one can be in a position where there is no way to exercise one's right to vote well. Seriously unfair electoral processes may put one in such a position. Such processes arguably hold in some contemporary western democracies, including the US.
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Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
The Authority of Democracy.Thomas Christiano - 2004 - Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (3):266–290.

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