Absolute Majority Rules: Optimizing Accountability

Adrian Vermeule

in Mechanisms of Democracy

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195333466
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199855384 | DOI:
 Absolute Majority Rules: Optimizing Accountability

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This chapter introduces another voting mechanism — the absolute majority rule. Absolute majority voting rules, which require a majority of all eligible members or voters to take institutional action, can promote accountability by insuring legislative and democratic majorities against strategic behavior by minorities. Moreover, such rules simultaneously promote the accountability of legislators and other officials to broad electorates and minimize the accountability of officials to narrow interest groups and other democratically suspect third parties. These two effects are complementary — the first promotes accountability where it is desirable, the second dilutes it where it is undesirable. Absolute majority rules, which can be used in conjunction with submajority rules, thus provide a tool for optimizing accountability.

Keywords: voting rules; voting mechanisms; democratic accountability; minorities

Chapter.  11061 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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