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Type: Journal article
Title: Low voter turnout in the United States - Is compulsory voting a viable solution?
Author: Hill, L.
Citation: Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2006; 18(2):207-232
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Issue Date: 2006
ISSN: 0951-6298
Statement of
Lisa Hill
Abstract: America’s turnout problem is among the worst of any of the established democracies. Even a reform as sweeping as the NVRA (Motor Voter Act) has failed to remedy it. Adopting an empirically informed normative approach, the author proposes and defends an ambitious solution: compulsory voting. Anticipating considerable resistance to this proposal, the article explores likely cultural, practical, political and legal barriers to its introduction and, in some cases, suggests strategies for overcoming them. It is concluded that most of the likely impediments are not technically, but rather, culturally and politically intractable. Yet, compulsory voting could have many benefits. Not only could it improve turnout more effectively than any other measure, but it could also close America’s yawning SES voting gap, limit some of the problems associated with campaign finance and break the cycle of low efficacy, alienation, non-participation and exclusion that characterizes American politics. Finally, compulsory voting can serve and protect such important democratic values as representativeness, legitimacy and political equality.
Description: Copyright © 2006 by SAGE Publications
RMID: 0020060447
DOI: 10.1177/0951629806061868
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Politics publications

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