Is It Our Duty to Vote?

Dickinson Debates, a series of topical discussions between students and professors, will kick off on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Stern Center Great Room, with a debate over the duty to vote.

Voting is seen by many as a privilege, while others see it as a requirement of citizenship. The U.S. and other republics do not mandate voting, but countries such as Australia, Argentina, Cyprus, Luxembourg and North Korea enforce a policy of compulsory or mandatory voting for all citizens of legal voting age. Does a citizen have the right not to vote in an election, either out of disinterest or protest?

The faculty debaters who will tackle that question are Sarah Niebler and David O’Connell, assistant professors of political science. Niebler’s research focuses on political participation and communication. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science; Political Communication; Legislative Studies Quarterly; and American Politics Research. O’Connell’s research focuses on the presidency, religion and politics, and American political development. His work has been published in Presidential Studies Quarterly, and his first book, God Wills It: Presidents and the Political Use of Religion, will be released in November.

The student debaters are senior environmental-studies and political-science major Samantha Lodge, and first-year student Thomas Kozdron. Senior Angeline Apostolou, an international-studies major and student project supervisor at the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues, will moderate the debate.

The event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum and the Dickinson College Student Senate Public Affairs Committee. It is part of the new Dickinson Debates series. For more information, visit or call 717-245-1875.

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Published October 20, 2014