About a quarter of all democracies today legally oblige their citizens to vote, making this an important aspect of electoral systems in many settings. Moreover, numerous commentators and policy-makers in voluntary voting states are coming to view mandatory attendance at the polls as an attractive option in the context of declining turnout. Yet there has been a dearth of analysis of the way in which compulsory voting shapes attitudes, behaviour and outcomes of the political process. This volume fills that gap by providing a comprehensive description, analysis and evaluation of compulsory voting as it is practiced throughout the world.
Specifically, the study systematically examines the history of the institution, the normative arguments for and against it, and the influence it has on a range of political phenomena. These include electoral campaigns, political attitudes, electoral integrity and legitimacy, policy outcomes and turnout. The book also considers the feasibility of introducing compulsory voting in a contemporary democracy, as well as variations on the institution designed to broaden its appeal. -- .
Sarah Birch is Reader in Politics at the University of Essex -- .
List of tables Preface 1. Introduction 2. A History of compulsory voting and an overview of contemporary experience 3. Normative arguments for and against compulsory voting 4. Compulsory voting and election campaigns 5. Compulsory voting and electoral turnout 6. Compulsory voting, electoral integrity and democratic legitimacy 7. Compulsory voting and political outcomes 8. Conclusion Appendix: sources of data and variable construction References Index -- .