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The Ethics of Voting$
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Jason Brennan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154442

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154442.001.0001

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Voting as an Ethical Issue

Voting as an Ethical Issue

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Voting as an Ethical Issue
Source:
The Ethics of Voting
Author(s):

Jason Brennan

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691154442.003.0001

This introductory chapter provides an overview of voting ethics. Voting is the principal way that citizens influence the quality of government. As such, individual voters have moral obligations concerning how they vote. Indeed, how individuals vote can help or harm people. Electoral outcomes can lead to a bad government, which can exploit the minority for the benefit of the majority. This book argues that citizens must vote well or abstain instead. Voters ought to vote for what they justifiedly believe promotes the common good. Even if many voters intend to promote the common good, they all too often lack sufficient evidence to justify the beliefs they advocate. When they do vote, they pollute democracy with their votes and make it more likely that people will have to suffer from bad governance.

Keywords:   voting ethics, voting, government, moral obligations, democracy, abstention, bad governance

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