Thursday, April 14, 2011

Moral Requirement of Voters

I talk a lot about voting, but rarely in the positive. If you do vote, here's some sound advice:
As a citizen, you do not owe it to others to provide them with the best possible governance. But if you take on the office of voter, you acquire additional moral responsibilities, just as you would were you to become the Federal Reserve chairperson, a physician, or a congressperson. The electorate decides who governs. Sometimes they decide policy directly. They owe it to the governed to provide what they justifiably believe or ought to believe is the best governance, just as others with political power owe it to the governed to do the same.
Or, as economist Bryan Caplan summarizes:
There's no duty to vote, but if you do vote, you have a duty to vote "only for things [you] justifiably believe would promote the common good."


  1. You might not believe this, but the percentage of residents in my town who voted (who were eligible and registered) was 17% for our last election of mayor.

  2. Wow. I wonder what the turnout for most local elections is. Probably pretty low. Ironic since local politics probably matter more and local votes probably have a higher percentage of making a difference.

  3. Freakonomics suggests that no one with right mind vote thinking there one vote will make a difference. It also says that it is better to clean the local area and spend voting time in other social things rather than voting.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.