Why Busing Voters to the Polling Station is Paying People to Vote

Law and Philosophy 42 (5):437-459 (2023)
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Abstract

In this paper, we argue that the widespread practice in the United States of busing voters to the polling station on Election Day is an instance of paying people to vote. We defend a definition of what it means to pay people to vote, and on this definition, busing voters to the polling station is an instance of paying people to vote. Paying people to vote is illegal according to United States federal election law. However, the United States courts have historically considered the practice of busing voters to the polling station legally permissible. The United States legal system, therefore, faces a dilemma: either the courts must change their interpretation of current federal election law such that busing voters to the polling station is a violation of federal election law, or federal election law must be changed so that at least some instances of paying people to vote are legally permissible. We argue that choosing either horn of the dilemma has a controversial implication for the United States legal system.

Author Profiles

Jørn Sønderholm
Aalborg University
Jakob Mainz
Aalborg University (PhD)

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