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Received wisdom in most democracies is that voting should be seen as a political freedom that citizens have a right to exercise or not to exercise. But would liberal democracies be any less liberal if voting were seen as a duty? Contrasting the libertarian argument against the moral duty to vote, this paper proposes that we have a duty to vote well – with knowledge and a sense of impartiality. The obligation is one among many instantiations of a natural duty to promote and support just institutions in society. The paper links justice with democratic epistemic virtues to ground the morality of the electoral duty.


Published in Critical Review, June 2016.

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Critical Review