Claudio López-Guerra: “The enfranchisement lottery”

Claudio López-Guerra, an assistant professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City, has a new paper, “The enfranchisement lottery“, part of an upcoming book on the right to vote.


This article compares the ‘enfranchisement lottery’, a novel method for allocating the right to vote, with universal suffrage. The comparison is conducted exclusively on the basis of the expected consequences of the two systems. Each scheme seems to have a relative advantage. On the one hand, the enfranchisement lottery would create a better informed electorate and thus improve the quality of electoral outcomes. On the other hand, universal suffrage is more likely to ensure that elections are seen to be fair, which is important for political stability. This article concludes that, on balance, universal suffrage is prima facie superior to the enfranchisement lottery. Yet the analysis shows that the instrumental case for the ‘one person, one vote’ principle is less conclusive than democratic theorists usually suppose.

Keywords: voting rights, mini-publics, citizen juries, deliberation, democracy, lotteries