12th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Vandamme

Pierre-Etienne Vandamme

The Justificatory Vote. Reconciling Votes and Deliberations

The use of political power is often considered as legitimate when its aim can be justified to every citizen. Furthermore, public deliberations seem to bring about more justice. A central quality of the democratic process should therefore be its capacity to foster the deliberative exchange of justifications. It is from that premise that the practice of secret voting is critically assessed in this article. While there remain good instrumental reasons to preserve the secret ballot, it seems possible and desirable to improve our voting practices. Therefore, one proposal – the Justificatory Vote – is proposed for discussion. It consists in protecting the anonymity of the voters while unveiling the justifications they are asked to choose when voting on a proposal – in popular consultations, referenda, and also in parliaments, but then publicly. The aim is to stimulate deliberative exchanges on competing justifications before and after the votes and thus to help creating a justificatory community.