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Election Law
SUNY Buffalo Law School
Gardner, James A.

Election Law Outline

(A) Different Views
(1) Plato – “The Republic” → Socrates
-Best Form of Gov’t → Rule by the Wise = Aristocracy
-Aristocracy → Gov’t by “the few over the many”
-being a member of some specific class entitles these people to rule
**These people are called Guardians**
*must look at personal characteristics of people → looking for:
-smart → know the law, strong, swift, educated in philosophy
-says must develop a training program to train people to become leaders
**b/c we must have a well functioning Gov’t
*believes there is a “Common Good” – it can be known, but NOT by everyone
**ONLY these wise and trained leaders know this common good and can best serve it
**What is Democracy?**
*Democracy is BAD → Mob Ruling
-mob won’t select the most educated and noble official
*democracy guarantees to put the incompetent in charge
**2 Critiques of Democracy**
(1) leaves the selection process up to citizens
(2) makes the officers BEG to get the position they are naturally entitled to
-idea of campaigning for office is looked down upon
-almost proof that you should not be in office
**Running for Office (BAD) v. Standing for Office (GOOD)**
**Problems with Socrates View**
(1) Is there such a thing as an Objective Common Good?
(2) If so, how do we know it?
(3) People fail to disentangle their personal common good from that of the society as a whole
(2) **Big Q** → What is the advantage of Democracy compared to that of other systems?
(Does Democracy give us the best humanly substantive rule?)
-Majority Rule and Collective Reasoning
-many heads combined are better than one
-democracy involves the public exchange of reasoning
(B) 4 Theories of Democracy
(1) Protective Democracy → John Locke
*Democracy is Good b/c:*
-it is the best way for people to protect their Rights and Liberties from invasion
-trying to justify a legitimate monarchy – one that consents w/the people
*advocating a consensual form of Gov’t
(2) Developmental Democracy → John Stuart Mill
*Democracy is Good b/c:*
*Widespread Participation → lets all people participate → good b/c:
(1) can protect yourself
(2) increases Stimulation, Inspiration, and makes people become Citizens
-democracy betters individuals in some way
**Makes people THINK – thus people become Citizens**
-people become part of the process by which people are chosen as officials
-people become competent in these characteristics
*Process of Democratic Participation trains people on the principles of Self-Rule
-this is the form of democratic Gov’t that we desire
(3) Communitarian Democracy → Walt Whitman (2 Poems)
*Democracy is Good b/c:*
-It leads individuals to a sense of inclusion
-argues that Platonian guardianship lead

r and vote b/c NO candidate will better voter’s economic pos
(C) Problems with Collective Decision-Making: Justifications of Majority Rule
(1) Big Q → How do we reduce a Multiplicity of Interests into one single will?
-Historically → answer is Majority Rule
*Alternatives to Majority Rule*
(1) Plurality View – Minority Rule
-rule by the person who gets the most total votes
*NOT the majority (more than 50% of votes) but the most total votes
**Probably does NOT maximize total utility**
(2) Unanimity
-bad idea /c there are very few things people can agree on
(3) Supermajority
-bad b/c only would get the votes from the highest officials
*good for Constitution and Bills but NOT for this
(2) Views of Majority Rule
(1) Simmel
-argues that majority rule is used b/c the many are more powerful than the few
-Violent aspects of ruling → Majority Rule is a peaceful substitute for resort to violence
(2) Pluralist View
*False presumption that Majority rule maximizes utility
-b/c there may be the majority vote that barely cares about its vote but a Minority that