Is Compulsory Voting Justified?
57 - 74 p.
Democracy, Voting, Equality, Liberty, Duties, Rights
Should voting be compulsory? Many people believe that it should, and that coun- tries, like Britain, which have never had compulsion, ought to adopt it. As is common with such things, the arguments are a mixture of principle and political calculation, reflecting the idea that compulsory voting is morally right and that it is likely to prove politically beneficial. This article casts a sceptical eye on both types of argument. It shows that compulsory voting is gen- erally unjustified although there are good reasons to worry about declining voter turnout in established democracies, and to worry about inequalities of turnout as well.