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Election law should focus less on deliberation in elections and more on deliberation about elections. Promoting deliberative elections is problematic because it runs against the competitive nature of campaigns, frustrates the goal of giving voters a clear choice, and discredits deliberation by realizing only a pale version of deliberative ideals. Promoting deliberation about elections is more promising because it aims at a shared goal, and better promotes deliberative ideals (such as the requirements that participants be willing to change their minds in response to reasons, and that they represent a wide range of perspectives). This approach would permit greater regulation of campaigns but with the aim of removing distortions rather than realizing deliberation. It would encourage more reliance on institutions, such as the citizens' assembly, for bringing about electoral reform, and more attention to the challenges these institutions pose.


Thompson, Dennis F. "Deliberate About, Not In, Elections." Election Law Journal 12.4 (2013): 372-385.