Unveiling the Vote

Geoffrey Brennan, Philip Pettit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


The case for secrecy in voting depends on the assumption that voters reliably vote for the political outcomes they want to prevail. No such assumption is valid. Accordingly, voting procedures should be designed to provide maximal incentive for voters to vote responsibly. Secret voting fails this test because citizens are protected from public scrutiny. Under open voting, citizens are publicly answerable for their electoral choices and will be encouraged thereby to vote in a discursively defensible manner. The possibility of bribery, intimidation or blackmail moderates this argument but such dangers will be avoidable in many contemporary societies without recourse to secrecy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-333
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations


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