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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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Arguments for a Duty to Vote

Arguments for a Duty to Vote

(p.15) Chapter One Arguments for a Duty to Vote
The Ethics of Voting

Jason Brennan

Princeton University Press

This chapter outlines three arguments on behalf of a duty to vote: the Agency Argument, the Public Goods Argument, and the Civic Virtue Argument. The Agency Argument held that citizens should bear some causal responsibility in helping to produce and maintain a just social order with adequate levels of welfare. The Agency Argument asserts that voting is necessary to do this. The Public Goods Argument holds that nonvoters unfairly free-ride on the provision of good governance. Failing to vote is like failing to pay taxes—it places a differential burden on others who do the hard work of providing good government. Meanwhile, the Civic Virtue Argument holds that voting is an essential way to exercise civic virtue, and civic virtue is an important moral virtue.

Keywords:   voting, Agency Argument, Public Goods Argument, Civic Virtue Argument, causal responsibility, civic virtue, moral virtue, good governance, social order, welfare

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