The Calculus Of Voting And Voting System Essay

1449 Words Dec 7th, 2015 6 Pages
The article “The Calculus of Voting in Compulsory Voting Systems” by Costas Panagopoulos that appeared in the Political Behavior talks about how Compulsory voting laws have consistently been demonstrated to boost electoral participation. The article is rather expository than analytical or descriptive, and mostly uses data from external sources and research.
The first part of the article mainly focuses on the cost of voting: Rational choice theories of electoral turnout assume that voters, like consumers, are rational and self-interested. Observing that the act of voting is costly, such theories suggest that voters, as rational actors, will weigh the costs of voting (C) against the benefits (B) in their decision-making calculus and, accordingly, rational voters will vote in elections only if the benefits exceed the costs of participation (Panagopoulos 456).
The second part of the article talks about compulsory voting systems. It says that participation in elections is considered a political right by most democratic governments, but others view voting as a duty and regulate participation through electoral laws. These countries mandate voting as a safeguard from anemic electoral participation. Compulsory voting laws legally oblige eligible voters to participate in elections or be liable to sanction. Declining turnout in most democracies in the 1990s rekindled scholars’ attention to compulsory voting as an institutional remedy for low turnout.(qtd in Panagopoulos).
Despite the…

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