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Thom Brooks

I Consider the following two cases: Vote-buying case . Adam is running for political office and he wants to win election. He offers cash to voters as an incentive for voters to vote for him. Tax-cut promises case . Eve is running for political

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Nagas as a ‘Society against Voting?’

Consensus-Building, Party-less Politics and a Culturalist Critique of Elections in Northeast India

Jelle J. P. Wouters

It was potentially scandalous that while voters lined up behind polling booths in the village of Phugwumi, someone wrote the following phrase in the dusty rear window of a nearby parked car: ‘Election is an insult to each other by vote’. Phugwumi is

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Voting and Liberty

Contemporary Implications of the Skinnerian Re-thinking of Political Liberty

Kari Palonen

In this paper, the author takes up the opposition between liberty and dependence proposed by Quentin Skinner and applies it to the analysis of the debates involving voting rights and regulations. The goal here is to examine the rhetoric supporting different positions in favor and against the extension of suffrage, the exclusion of certain groups, etc. The author points out that dependence can be detected even in democratic societies that lack traditional hierarchies. A similar effort is made to think how commitment, deliberation, and contestation can take place in the context of today's representative democracy in ways that enhance freedom instead of endangering it.

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Katherine Smith

This article uncovers the distinction between calls of the far right to address what they consider to be an imbalance in political representation in Britain and local frustrations in Higher Blackley, North Manchester, England about feeling ignored by local and national government. Exploring how voting for the far right is used strategically in an attempt to communicate political disenchantment with the Labour Party, the article explains the shift in voting patterns as a protest against Labour rather than as a statement of affiliation with the core values of the British National Party. The extent of residents' anger is revealed as they explain the “unfairness“ of politicians' general neglect of the kind of people who live in Higher Blackley. This is compounded by perceptions of the preferential and “unfair“ treatment given to people from ethnic minorities. The article explains how the labeling of residents of Higher Blackley as white working class is rejected as also being “unfair“ because it ascribes negative attributes, wholesale, to the very people who were once respected for their participation in a Labour movement of their own making. The ethnographic idea of “fairness“ is revealed in the article as the opposite of labeling/fixing and as the acknowledgement of contingency, chance, and choice.

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Robert E. Goodin

Sunstein's Infotopia offers four reasons for thinking that information-pooling via mechanical aggregation of votes is superior to discursive sharing of opinions. This article focuses on two of them—the Common Knowledge Effect and Group Polarisation—showing that both phenomena might have perfectly good Bayesian explanations. Far from constituting 'errors', both can actually contribute to truth-tracking in ways that cannot be accomplished via mechanical aggregation of votes alone.

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Protest Voting in Eastern Germany

Continuity and Change Across Three Decades

David F. Patton

In 1989-1990, peaceful protests shook the German Democratic Republic (GDR), ushered in unification, and provided a powerful narrative of people power that would shape protest movements for decades to come. This article surveys eastern German protest across three decades, exploring the interplay of protest voting, demonstrations, and protest parties since the Wende. It finds that protest voting in the east has had a significant political impact, benefiting and shaping parties on both the left and the right of the party spectrum. To understand this potential, it examines how economic and political factors, although changing, have continued to provide favorable conditions for political protest in the east. At particular junctures, waves of protest occurred in each of the three decades after unification, shaping the party landscape in Germany.

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Peter Pulzer

“Votes count,” Stein Rokkan asserted many years ago, “but resources

decide.”1 Political finance is one of the many arenas in which Alexander

and Shiratori’s “conflict between real inequalities in economic

resources and idealized equalities in political resources” is fought out.2

Yet the battleground is more complex than either of these authorities

suggests. Votes are also a resource. They legitimate, and they can also

punish, if those who cast them think that economic resources are

being used unreasonably. Above all, the determination of electoral

outcomes involves players others than voters and moneyed

interests. In almost all modern democracies there are referees of

varying effectiveness. In general, the referee is “the state,” but much

depends on the organs through which the state operates. Governments

are not necessarily neutral agents; they and the parliaments

that legislate on the regulation of political finance may merely reflect

the interests of dominant or established parties. Political finance can,

however, also be regulated, as for instance in Germany or the United

States, by judicial review. In addition the media almost everywhere

play an unpredictable role as spectator, watchdog or interested participant.

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Irwin M. Wall

The French elections of 2012 resulted in an unprecedented and overwhelming victory by France's Socialist Party, which gained control of the presidency and an absolute majority in the National Assembly to go with the party's existing domination of most of France's regions and municipalities. But the Socialist Party remains a minority party in the French electoral body politic, its victory the result of a skewered two-ballot electoral system. The Socialist government, moreover, remains hampered in its action by its obligations toward the European Union and its participation in the zone of countries using the Euro as it attempts to deal with France's economic crisis. As a consequence of both of these phenomena the government may also be sitting atop a profound political crisis characterized by the alienation of a good part of the electorate from the political system.

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The Far Right Vote in France

From Consolidation to Collapse?

James Shields

The presidential and legislative elections of 2007 are widely seen to have marked the end of the Far Right as a major political force in France. How could this occur only five years after Le Pen's qualification for the presidential run-off, and with his party seemingly in the ascendant? This article discusses recent fluctuations in Far Right electoral performance in France. It focuses largely on the presidential elections of 2002 and 2007, re-examining the (supposed) upswell of Far Right support in 2002 and its (supposed) subsidence in 2007. Both elections require nuanced interpretation. Both confounded poll predictions, which in 2007 failed to measure the effect of Sarkozy's hard-right campaign and, crucially, the extent to which the border between “mainstream Right” and “Far Right” had shifted since 2002. This allowed Sarkozy to drain part of Le Pen's electorate, and raises questions over the wider impact of Le Pen and the FN on the political agenda in France.

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Pulling up the Drawbridge

Anti-Immigrant Attitudes and Support for the Alternative for Germany among Russian-Germans

Michael A. Hansen and Jonathan Olsen

, these Spätaussiedler were given citizenship immediately upon arrival in Germany. 1 Some accounts of voting behavior of Russian-Germans have suggested that a majority have traditionally supported the Union parties, primarily out of gratitude to Helmut