In defence of democracy: the criminalisation of impersonation

Slater, James and Watt, bob (2015) In defence of democracy: the criminalisation of impersonation. Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy, 14 (2). pp. 165-185. ISSN 1533-1296


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This article offers a philosophical justification for the criminalisation of voting as another person (impersonation or, in English law, personation) in public elections by arguing that it involves wrongdoing in the form of anti-democratic behaviour and that the failure to criminalise it will harm the public good of electoral integrity. With regard to harm, the article argues that the failure to criminalise impersonation will eventually result in widespread impersonation, such widespread impersonation undermining electoral integrity, itself instrumental to a number of public goods reflecting the democratic character of any given polity. Finally, the article completes the case for criminalisation by arguing that, in any given jurisdiction, it may be neither effective nor desirable for the entire burden of preventing impersonation to fall onto the civil law, with the result that the criminalisation of impersonation can serve a useful complementary role to the civil law in maintaining electoral integrity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Electoral offences; Impersonation; Criminalisation; Political theory
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: School of Law
Depositing User: James Slater
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2017 09:50
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2017 09:50

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