POL201 LEC FEB. 02
The work that voting does, is that it supposed to, the reason that voting matters, is that voters
lodges sovereignty in the people, and if sovereignty rests in the people, two conditions are
1. Legitimates governments, leaders, and legislation. I mentioned before that in older
systems of govnerment, legitimacy was established through god, political leaders would
say I am the hand of god, god is speaking through me, that is the job monarchs were
doing on earth, carrying out the will of god. When that link between political leadrs and
god gets severed, they need a new form of legitimacy, so after this link is severed,
legitimacy was made through the will of the people.
2. It obligates citizens to abide by govnerment laws and policies, if you are voting for
something, you hav ehte right to criticize. This is where this tradeoff between rights and
responsibility comes from. The right to vote creates or generates the responsibility to
abide by the laws of leaders that you hav eparticiapated in electing.
Oting, elections, electoral systems, and modes of repsresneition, is modern democratic systems.
So what we are talking about is REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY. In direct democracy,
people literally discuss issues and laws, and gets passed when there is consesnsus. However the
growth of democratic states has required that we change from direct to rep. democracy. But even
within rep. democratic systems, there are instances, moments of direct democracy, the most
common is the referendum, referendum is never the primacy mechanism is decision making, but
it is not that uncommon either.
If you live in California, before the election you would receive a book, which includes the written
text of all the refferendums that you can vote on, these are called proposition eg. Proposition 8:
amendement of marriage in which only marriage between a man and a women is valid or
recognized in California. Proposition 8 required a certain number of people to sign this
proposition. Campaign for and against proposition 8 was done through millions of dollars. The
proposition passed by a margin of 4 percentage points. Most propositions are not as well known.
-most propositions are about rules of taxation, and schoolboard voting rules, and its hard for
people to think about how this affects them. That’s why you get this phonebook- it lays out the
propositions. Its very hard to work out whether you care about these issues, you have to read all
of this, so it renews your commitment to rep. democracy because it shows that you have to know
about all these issues in order to make a decision. It makes people appreciate rep. democracy.
In rep. democracy voters elect leaders, and leaders make decisions on their behalf.\
Historically, most democracies came about through a slow process of EXTENDING THE
FRANCHIse, which means enlarging the population of voters.
So inititianally voters were limited to male white property owners. This was because only they
were considered full and responsible ctizens. We are exclusidding along lines of gender, race,
-but then at different times of different countries, property ownership was abolished. So class
was taken away and white men who don’t own property were allowed to vote.