A duty to vote may be many things. It may be no more than an obligation to cast one's ballot as self-interestedly or as altruistically as one pleases. It may a requirement to vote for the political party most likely to yield the highest social welfare. It may be a requirement to choose between competing parties in the interest of one's social class or with recognition of the needs of the poor. It may include a requirement to inform oneself about the issues in an election. This paper begins with a critique of the argument denying any duty to vote because, as with participants in the market, there is no conflict between self-interest and public interest in the choice whether to vote or abstain. The core of the paper is a discussion of several interpretations of the duty to vote, and there is a brief review of pros and cons of compulsory voting.I wonder what the incentives are for voting if it is compulsory? I can't see people who are being forced into voting exactly taking a lot of time and effort over getting to know the issues or the candidates. Do you really want these people voting?
Saturday, 4 June 2011
Is compulsory voting the way to go?
Dan Usher has a new working paper out on A Duty to Vote. The abstract reads: