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By Stephen Coleman

This booklet units out to unearth the hidden genealogies of democracy, and especially its most generally well-known, regularly mentioned and deeply symbolic act, vote casting. via exploring the gaps among balloting and popularity, being counted and feeling counted, having a vote and having a voice and the languor of count number taking and the animation of account giving, there emerges a distinct perception into the way it feels to be a democratic citizen. in accordance with a chain of interviews with a number of electorate and nonvoters, the study makes an attempt to appreciate what humans imagine they're doing after they vote; how they believe ahead of, in the course of and after the act of vote casting; how performances of balloting are framed via stories, narratives and goals; and what it ability to think about oneself as somebody who does (or doesn't) vote. wealthy in idea, it is a contribution to election reviews that takes tradition heavily.

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Sample text

Homer’s account of Odysseus’ address to the Athenian military rank-and-file captures the spirit of predemocratic governance: Thou shalt neither be counted in war nor in counsel, for no good thing is a multitude of lords. Let there be one lord and one king, to whom Chronos has vouchsafed the sceptre and the judgments. It was precisely to guard against such oligarchical tendencies that Solon introduced his constitutional reforms in the early Narratives of Voting 37 sixth century BCE, abolishing the enslavement of Athenians by Athenians and awarding political rights on the basis of productive landownership rather than noble birth.

In some cases, this meant that they were murdered with impunity, the state having no obligation towards those who defy its laws. The same principle persists in those countries that deny convicted felons the right to vote. This is a contemporary form of civil death for the morally deviant. Whether or not one meets this fate depends on where in the world one commits a crime. In countries such as Bosnia, Albania, Iran, South Africa, Pakistan and Canada,12 those who are sent to prison retain the right to vote.

There are four observations worth making about this narrative before we move on to consider a different theme. First, these are not just any twelve citizens: they are men and they are angry. The subject of the film could have been twelve jolly women or twelve embarrassed boys or twelve procrastinating men, but it is twelve angry men whose deliberations we are invited to observe. According to the film’s narrative, their anger is the problematic condition that stands between them and reasoned judgement.

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