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Does deliberation Help deliver informed electorates: evidence from Irish referendum votes

Suiter, Jane orcid logoORCID: 0000-0002-2747-8069 and Reidy, Theresa orcid logoORCID: 0000-0002-5380-0015 (2019) Does deliberation Help deliver informed electorates: evidence from Irish referendum votes. Representation, 56 (4). pp. 539-557. ISSN 0034-4893

We argue that integrating citizen deliberation structures into the pre-referendum phase can deliver systematic improvements in democratic outcomes such as alignment between values and vote, ie: correct voting. Using data from three Irish referendums, the research examines the potential of deliberative mini-publics to deliver more informed electorates. An emerging branch of literature argues that direct and deliberative democracy can be mutually supportive. It demonstrates that there is much potential to be realised when the fields of deliberation and the practice of referendums are brought together (Saward, 2001, p 363). Greater understanding of referendum issues can be achieved by mini-publics extending the time allocated to discussing issues, producing rigorous and informed materials which can be used during the subsequent referendum debates and delivering decisions which stem from a citizen institution and from citizens that are more likely to approximate the general public and therefore be more trusted by ordinary voters. Ultimately we argue that deliberative processes enhance subjective and objective knowledge and this leads to referendum outcomes where a larger share of voters cast ballots which align with their own fundamental values. The analysis demonstrates that there was greater alignment between the core values of voters and their vote decisions when a deliberative phase was introduced into the constitutional referendum process; and furthermore that this alignment grew as deliberation became more embedded and normalized.
Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Referendums; citizen deliberation; mini-publics; abortion; marriage equality
Subjects:Social Sciences > Communication
Social Sciences > Political science
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Communications
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Official URL:https://doi.org/10.1080/00344893.2019.1704848
Copyright Information:© 2019 Taylor & Francis (CC-BY-NC-ND)
ID Code:25576
Deposited On:03 Mar 2021 14:26 by Jane Suiter . Last Modified 03 Mar 2021 14:26

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