The Paradoxical Act of Voting

  • Hannu Nurmi


One of the best-known paradoxes of voting pertains to the act of voting itself. The paradox is usually phrased as follows: why is it that many — in many countries most — eligible people vote even though the effect of their vote is very marginal and they incur real costs in voting? Certainly people vote for a number of reasons and, thus, suggesting that one motive, viz. instrumental, may be absent is hardly sufficient to make the act of voting paradoxical. Thus, we must take a little closer look at the alleged paradox.


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  1. 1.
    The practical syllogism is an Aristotelian construct. Its various versions are discussed in extenso by G.H. von Wright (von Wright 1971, 96–118).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A 100% turnout requirement together with the belief that all others vote and support predominantly x would be an example of this highly unusual election.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannu Nurmi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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