Podcast Special: Interview with Nicholas Munn

A full length interview with Dr Nicholas Munn (University of Waikato), recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.

The subject of the interview was his paper, titled “Voting, Rights and Compulsion”.

The abstract for the paper is:


    In this paper, I examine the benefits to democratic legitimacy conferred by compulsory voting regimes, and question the degree to which these benefits in fact arise from the fact of compulsion, rather than from other aspects of institutional practice which occur (in a jurisdiction like Australia) concurrently with it. In particular, I argue that a significant amount of the benefit of compulsory voting comes not from the fact of voting being compulsory, but from the infrastructure which is required to reasonably support a compulsory voting system. Where this is the case, it is the provision of sufficient voting infrastructure that generates the democratic advantages appealed to by proponents of compulsory voting, and this infrastructure is positive independently of compulsion. I explore whether compulsory voting is a) necessary for, or b) the best way to achieve, the desired outcomes of widespread participation and resulting legitimacy in democratic outcomes. I claim that we can achieve these outcomes without compulsion, and discuss whether we should attempt to do so.

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