Should Voting Be Compulsory? Democracy and the Ethics of Voting

In Andrei Poama & Annabelle Lever (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy. Routledge. pp. 242-254 (2019)
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Abstract

The ethics of voting is a new field of academic research, uniting debates in ethics and public policy, democratic theory and more empirical studies of politics. A central question in this emerging field is whether or not voters should be legally required to vote. This chapter examines different arguments on behalf of compulsory voting, arguing that these do not generally succeed, although compulsory voting might be justified in certain special cases. However, adequately specifying the forms of voluntary voting that are consistent with democratic norms is likely to be philosophically complex and politically controversial.

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Annabelle Lever
SciencesPo, Paris

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