My Essay tries to show the ways in which deliberative democrats and election law theorists need each other. I do so by examining in detail one proposed reform of American democracy along deliberative lines, offered by Bruce Ackerman and James Fishkin in their book Deliberation Day. The focus here is partial, but not, I think unwarranted. Ackerman and Fishkin’s book represents a bold and rigorously formulated effort to make voting more reflective, and citizens more engaged in voting. However, in the course of their proposals, they miss how key elements of the structure of American election law threaten to make “deliberation day” into less of an arena for wide-ranging democratic deliberation than it could be and to introduce deliberation into areas where we might prefer that it not be.
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