Unequal turnout and political equality

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Electoral turnout is socially unequal. The more privileged an elector is – in terms of wealth, income, and education - the more likely that elector is to exercise her right to vote. Empirical evidence indicates that such social inequality in turnout is one, though not the only, cause of the disproportional political influence wielded by the most privileged electors at the expense of the disadvantaged electors in many democracies. It is sometimes claimed that unequal turnout violates the central democratic value of political equality, because it causes such inequality of political influence in favor of groups with high electoral turnout. This presentation shall argue that this is false: Unequal turnout does not violate political equality. While unequal turnout does cause inequality in the political influence of groups, it does not cause any inequality in the political influence of individuals, and only inter-individual inequality of political influence violates the value of political equality. Thus, unequal turnout does not cause the sort of inequality of political influence that violates the value of political equality.
Periode31 okt. 2018
Sted for afholdelseNanyang Technological University, Singapore