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Electoral Quid Pro Quo: A Defence of Barter Markets in Votes

Journal article
Authors E. Brandstedt
Published in Journal of Applied Philosophy
Volume 36
Issue 5
Pages 785-799
ISSN 0264-3758
Publication year 2019
Published at
Pages 785-799
Language en
Subject categories Philosophy


In this article I aim to provide the first normative discussion of barter voting markets, namely markets which allow the trading of votes on issues/elections for votes on other issues/elections. The article is framed within the wider literature on the legal permissibility of vote buying, with a particular focus on the recent debate between Christopher Freiman and James Stacey Taylor. I argue that while Taylor's objections successfully defeat Freiman's case in favour of standard voting markets, they are unable to also defeat the type of voting markets outlined here. Furthermore, I argue that there are at least two plausible prima facie reasons in favour of barter voting markets, grounded in their capacity to contribute to the alleviation of injustice for systematically disadvantaged socio-economic groups and to their capacity to reduce one form of bad voting, i.e. voting from ignorance.

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