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The Politics of Voter SuppressionDefending and Expanding Americans' Right to Vote$
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Tova Andrea Wang

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450853

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450853.001.0001

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The Voter Inclusion Principle

The Voter Inclusion Principle

(p.1) 1 The Voter Inclusion Principle
The Politics of Voter Suppression

Tova Andrea Wang

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the development of the voter inclusion principle. Election law should be used to encourage and boost voter participation, not make it unnecessarily difficult, or serve as a deterrent to citizen participation. The sanction for the kind of get-out-the-vote activities the Obama campaign engaged in is the fundamental democratic intuition that more political participation among citizens is always desirable. This intuition is used to develop a so-called principle of voter inclusion. The voter inclusion principle can serve as a useful guideline in analyzing when an election reform that is likely to increase turnout is of value, and in pinpointing the rare occasion when there might be legitimate justification for sacrificing the value of increased participation to promote some other end. There is no pure mathematical calculation that can be applied; it is a balancing of the equities that will lead to a policy that is most beneficial for democracy.

Keywords:   election reform, election law, voter participation, voting rights, voter inclusion principle, democracy, voter turnout

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