Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters


Assumptions regarding the effect of an abstention guide the theory and practice of abstention across the full range of democratic decisionmaking. Sometimes, however, these assumptions are false, and may prevent voters from achieving their objectives. This Article examines the effect that abstention has under common voting procedures, dispelling many assumptions that voters make about the effect of an abstention.

Publication Title

University of Illinois Law Review

Document Type



elections, voting procedures, voting – abstention, effect of abstention, mistaken abstention, absolute quotas, relative quotas, No-Show Paradox, Robert’s Rules of Order, plurality runoffs, democratic decisionmaking



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.