Outcomes and the justification of compulsory voting

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    Compulsory voting is empirically associated with political outcomes widely regarded as desirable, such as reduced corruption and greater economic equality. Some advocates of compulsory voting consider the desirability of these political outcomes an important point in favor of compulsory voting. This article argues that compulsory voting cannot be justified by the desirability of the political outcomes promoted by compulsory voting. It does so by showing that whatever the political outcome in question, if compulsory voting promotes that outcome, then some electors promote that outcome by failing to vote, rather than voting. Since these electors are disproportionally likely to belong to certain socio-demographic groups, a scheme that does not compel electors belonging to those groups to vote will be more effective at promoting the political outcome in question than compulsory voting for all. Thus, the desirability of the political outcomes of compulsory voting cannot justify compulsory voting for all.
    Periode27 okt. 2017
    Sted for afholdelseNanyang Technological University, Singapore