Should Secret Voting Be Mandatory?
Should Secret Voting Be Mandatory?
The secrecy of the ballot, a crucial basic element of representative democracy, is under threat. Attempts to make voting more convenient in the face of declining turnout – and the rise of the “ballot selfie” – are making it harder to guarantee secrecy.

Leading scholars James Johnson and Susan Orr go back to basics to analyze the fundamental issues surrounding the secret ballot, showing how secrecy works to protect voters from coercion and bribery. They argue, however, that this protection was always incomplete: faced with effective ballot secrecy, powerful actors turned to manipulating turnout – buying presence or absence at the polls – to obtain their electoral goals. The authors proceed to show how making both voting and voting in secret mandatory would foreclose both undue influence and turnout manipulation. This would enhance freedom for voters by liberating them from coercion or bribery in their choice of both whether and how to vote.

This thought-provoking and insightful text will be invaluable for students and scholars of democratic theory, elections and voting, and political behavior.
Show More
Buy Now


Order Exam Copy

For Lecturers Only

More Info
  • November 2020
  • 140 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509538157
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509538164
  • Open eBook $10.00
  • 9781509538171
Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 The Clash of Inclusion and Integrity? 1

2 A Precarious Institution Under Siege 41

3 Non-Domination in Elections Requires Mandatory Voting Too 76

Notes 105

References 114

About the Author
James Johnson is Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester.
Susan Orr is Associate Professor of Political Science at the College of Brockport, State University of New York.
Show More


“For elections free from ‘domination,’ Johnson and Orr offer this simple recipe: mandatory voting plus mandatory secret voting. A carefully argued, historicized, and empirically informed defense of two highly effective mechanisms for democratic robustness, this is a must for all students of politics.”
Lisa Hill, University of Adelaide

“A wonderful short book: provocative, informative, pertinent, and accessible.”  
Annabelle Lever, Sciences Po

Show More