CFP: Rethinking Compulsory Voting

Submission deadline: October 15, 2018

Conference date(s):
December 8, 2018

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Conference Venue:

Département de science politique et relations internationales, Université de Genève
Genève, Switzerland

Topic areas


Compulsory voting (CV) is a topic that has elicited much attention in contemporary democratic theory over the past few years. Defenders of CV have appealed to a variety of arguments, including the view that CV contributes to greater representativeness; that it helps to overcome the lack of coordination between political allies; that it prevents non-voters from free riding on voters’ active contribution to good governance; or that it contributes to democratic moderation. These arguments have been met with various kinds of criticisms. However, the literature on CV has mostly neglected two key elements of the institutional framework within which CV is expected to contribute to the realization of the aforementioned goals: political parties and electoral design. Similarly, the emerging literatures on the normative dimensions of partisanship and electoral design have failed to engage with the empirical and normative analysis of CV. This workshop will therefore aim to foster a rethinking of the existing arguments for and against CV in view of a deeper reflection on the complex connections between CV, partisanship and electoral design. 

In addition to three main speakers, there will be space for four additional participants. We welcome abstracts addressing (but not limited to) the following questions from the perspective of democratic theory and/or political philosophy:

Are the normative goals of CV and ethical partisanship related and, if so, how?Is intra-party democracy relevant to normative debates on CV?

Is parties’ contribution to public justification relevant to normative debates on CV?

Can CV contribute to the realization of the normative values of partisanship?

Does the electoral system affect the realization of the normative goals of CV?

How do the values and ideals that underlie direct democracy (e.g. referenda) intersect with those that motivate support for CV?

Abstracts (350 words) should be sent to by 15 October 2018. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 22 October.

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