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Ken Mayer: An American perspective on compulsory voting

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Professor Ken Mayer delivered this public lecture on the 24 May 2012 at The Australian National University entitled: An American perspective on compulsory voting.Low levels of voter turnout have been a significant feature of American elections over the last fifty years. In this lecture Professor Mayer explores the high costs of low turnout and the damage it does to the quality of representative democracy in the US. He analyses the pros and cons of the Australian compulsory voting model as a remedy for America's problems in the context of the growing interest amongst some American political scientists in the idea of compulsory voting. By exploring the philosophical, practical, and legal objections, Professor Mayer attempted to explain why there is no compulsory voting in the United States and why it is unlikely that there will ever be.Professor Mayer's teaching and research interests are in American government and institutions (especially Congress and the Presidency) and campaign finance. He is the author of With the Stroke of a Pen: Executive Orders and Presidential Power (Princeton University Press, 2001), The Political Economy of Defense Contracting (Yale University Press, 1991), and The Dysfunctional Congress? The Individual Roots of an Institutional Dilemma (Westview Press, 1999, with David T. Canon). His work has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Election Law Journal, the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Public Administration Review, PS: Political Science and Politics, Regulation, and the UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal. He served on the editorial board of the American Political Science Review and a number of other journals. His current research focuses on election administration in the United States, and the effectiveness of recent state-level campaign finance reforms. Professor Mayer was the inaugural Fulbright-ANU Distinguished Chair in American Political Science at the Australian National University in 2006.

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