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The Duty to Vote$
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Julia Maskivker

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190066062

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190066062.001.0001

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Self-Standing Arguments against a Duty to Vote and Why They Fail

Self-Standing Arguments against a Duty to Vote and Why They Fail

(p.169) 5 Self-Standing Arguments against a Duty to Vote and Why They Fail
The Duty to Vote

Julia Maskivker

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses two popular criticisms against the duty to vote. They are enlisted separately from the main argument in the book because they are self-standing. The first criticism holds that voting is irrational because it is individually ineffective, therefore not the stuff of a moral duty. The second criticism sustains that seeing voting as a moral duty is an affront to freedom because it means that the political life is superior to other human pursuits. The chapter shows that rationality in voting does not have to mean the capacity to determine the electoral outcome individually. It also argues that the moral duty to vote enhances freedom as non-domination because it has the capacity to increase political accountability and political responsiveness. We can justify a moral duty to vote on instrumental grounds without passing moral judgment on the value of politics vis-à-vis other human pursuits.

Keywords:   liberty, perfectionism, non-domination, irrational voter, instrumentalism

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