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What Exactly Is A Duty To Vote ?


  • Dan Usher

    (Department of Economics, Queen's University)


A duty to vote may be interpreted narrowly as no more than an obligation to cast oneÂ’s ballot, supporting a party or candidate in oneÂ’s own interest exclusively or, if one so pleases, with some regard for the community as a whole. Alternatively, a duty to vote may be interpreted broadly as including an obligation to vote for the party or candidate seen as best for society as a whole. This essay is a defence of the narrower, less stringent, duty, with no obligation about whom to vote for except in so far as viciousness or outright injustice is expected from the election of a party or candidates for office.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Usher, 2011. "What Exactly Is A Duty To Vote ?," Working Paper 1266, Economics Department, Queen's University.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1266

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Should voting be compulsory?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-06-03 19:18:00

    More about this item


    Pivotal voting; Duty to vote; utilitarianism; Compulsory voting; expressive voting;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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