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Journal Article

Unveiling the Vote

Geoffrey Brennan and Philip Pettit
British Journal of Political Science
Vol. 20, No. 3 (Jul., 1990), pp. 311-333
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/193913
Page Count: 23
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Unveiling the Vote
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Abstract

The case for secrecy in voting depends on the assumption that voters reliably vote for the political outcomes they want to prevail. No such assumption is valid. Accordingly, voting procedures should be designed to provide maximal incentive for voters to vote responsibly. Secret voting fails this test because citizens are protected from public scrutiny. Under open voting, citizens are publicly answerable for their electoral choices and will be encouraged thereby to vote in a discursively defensible manner. The possibility of bribery, intimidation or blackmail moderates this argument but such dangers will be avoidable in many contemporary societies without recourse to secrecy.

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