Voting as Veto

63 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2010

Date Written: June 29, 2010


This Article introduces an alternate conception of voting as veto - based on "negative preferences" against a voter’s least preferred outcomes - that enriches voting theory and practice otherwise dominated by a conception of voting as a means of expressing a voter’s ideal preferences. Indeed, the familiar binary choices presented in American political elections obscure the pervasiveness of negative preferences, which are descriptively salient in voting under all types of circumstances. Negative preferences have been overlooked, despite their theoretical and practical importance across many domains, leaving important questions unexplored in the literature. The Article develops a normative and positive account of voting as veto that identifies the costs, benefits, and critical tradeoffs in the formal recognition of negative preferences.

Keywords: voting, veto, elections, negative preferences, alternative voting, recall, voir dire, filibuster, negativity bias, racially polarized voting, direct democracy

Suggested Citation

Kang, Michael S., Voting as Veto (June 29, 2010). Michigan Law Review, Vol. 108, No. 7, 2010, Emory Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-64, Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 10-104, Available at SSRN:

Michael S. Kang (Contact Author)

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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