Which Elections? A Dilemma for Proponents of the Duty to Vote

Res Publica:1-19 (forthcoming)
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Proponents of the duty to vote (DTV) argue that in normal circumstances, citizens have the moral duty to vote in political elections. Discussions about DTV analyze _what_ the duty is, _who_ has this duty, _when_ they have it, and _why_ they have it. Missing are answers to the Specification Question: to _which_ elections does DTV apply? A dilemma arises for some supporters of DTV—in this paper, I focus on Julia Maskivker’s work—because either answer is problematic. First, I argue that it is implausible that DTV applies to _all_ elections because this makes the duty too costly for the voter. Second, I argue that there are no good reasons why under normal circumstances DTV applies only to _some_ elections. I consider objections but conclude that the dilemma is successful and therefore the case for DTV is incomplete.

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Andre Rusavuk
University of Birmingham

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Are Knowledgeable Voters Better Voters?Michael Hannon - 2022 - Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 21 (1):29-54.
Why You Should Vote to Change the Outcome.Zach Barnett - 2020 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 48 (4):422-446.
The Ethics of Voting.Jason Brennan - 2011 - Princeton Univ Pr.
Why Citizens Should Vote: A Causal Responsibility Approach.Alvin I. Goldman - 1999 - Social Philosophy and Policy 16 (2):201-217.
Polluting the Polls: When Citizens Should Not Vote.Jason Brennan - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (4):535-549.

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