Compulsory voting: a critical perspective

British Journal of Political Science 40:897-915 (2010)
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Should voting be compulsory? This question has recently gained the attention of political scientists, politicians and philosophers, many of whom believe that countries, like Britain, which have never had compulsion, ought to adopt it. The arguments are a mixture of principle and political calculation, reflecting the idea that compulsory voting is morally right and that it is will prove beneficial. This article casts a sceptical eye on the claims, by emphasizing how complex political morality and strategy can be. Hence, I show, while there are good reasons to worry about voter turnout in established democracies, and to worry about inequalities of turnout as well, the case for compulsory voting is unpersuasive.


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Annabelle Lever
SciencesPo, Paris

References found in this work

On Legitimacy and Political Deliberation.Bernard Manin - 1987 - Political Theory 15 (3):338-368.
Privacy Rights and Democracy: A Contradiction in Terms?Annabelle Lever - 2006 - Contemporary Political Theory 5 (2):142-162.

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