'A liberal defence of compulsory voting': some reasons for scepticism

POLITICS 28 (1):61-64 (2008)
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Liberal egalitarians such as Rawls and Dworkin, insist that a just society must try to make sure that socio-economic inequalities do not undercut the value of the vote, and of other political liberties. They insist on this not just for instrumental reasons, but because they assume that democratic forms of political participation can be desirable ends in themselves. However, compulsory voting laws seem to conflict with respect for reasonable differences of belief and value, essential to liberal egalitarians. Nor is it clear that such laws would actually achieve their intended purpose. Consequently, it is doubtful that there is a ‘liberal defence of compulsory voting’, as Lacroix, among others, maintains.



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Annabelle Lever
SciencesPo, Paris

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