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Law

Democracy

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Direct (Anti-)Democracy, Maxwell L. Stearns Jan 2012

Direct (Anti-)Democracy, Maxwell L. Stearns

Faculty Scholarship

Legal scholars, economists, and political scientists are divided on whether voter initiatives and legislative referendums tend to produce outcomes that are more (or less) majoritarian, efficient, or solicitous of minority concerns than traditional legislation. Scholars also embrace opposing views on which law-making mechanism better promotes citizen engagement, registers preference intensities, encourages compromise, and prevents outcomes masking cycling voter preferences. Despite these disagreements, commentators generally assume that the voting mechanism itself renders plebiscites more democratic than legislative lawmaking. This assumption is mistaken.

Although it might seem unimaginable that a lawmaking process that directly engages voters possesses fundamentally antidemocratic features, this Article ...