Voting as Veto

Michael S. Kang, Voting as Veto, 108 Mich. L. Rev. 1221 (2010).

Abstract:  This Article introduces an alternate conception of voting as veto – based on “negative preferences” against a voter’s least preferred outcomes – that enriches voting theory and practice otherwise dominated by a conception of voting as a means of expressing a voter’s ideal preferences. Indeed, the familiar binary choices presented in American political elections obscure the pervasiveness of negative preferences, which are descriptively salient in voting under all types of circumstances. Negative preferences have been overlooked, despite their theoretical and practical importance across many domains, leaving important questions unexplored in the literature. The Article develops a normative and positive account of voting as veto that identifies the costs, benefits, and critical tradeoffs in the formal recognition of negative preferences.

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