Document Type : Article


1 Associate Professor, Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Qom, Qom, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Qom, Qom, Iran

3 Ph. D. in Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Qom, Qom, Iran



The right to political participation is a fundamental human right that derives from self-determination. This right is set out in important instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and etc. One of the obvious aspects of the right to political participation is the right to vote. The views of these instruments on voting are a rights-based view towards citizens and a commitment-based view towards governments. However, in some countries there is an electoral system in which voting and participation in elections is a civic duty and not doing so is liable for punishment. In this study, using a descriptive-analytical method, while reviewing the views of institutions such as the Human Rights Committee and the European Commission on Human Rights, we are seeking to answer this question: is compulsory voting in conflict with human rights instruments? The findings of the study indicate that what is mandatory in a compulsory voting system is merely the presence of the voter at the ballot box and casting a vote. As such, the observance of the principle of secret voting prevents the violation of human rights such as freedom of thought, freedom of opinion, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. Therefore, compulsory voting, provided that voting is secret, does not conflict with human rights. 


  1. English

    1. A) Books
    2. Birch, Sarah (2009), Full Participation: A Comparative Study of Compulsory Voting, Manchester, Manchester University Press.
    3. Hohfeld, W. (1917), Fundamental Legal Conception as Applied in Judicial Reasoning, 26 Yale Law Journal.
    4. Jackman, S.(2001), ‘Compulsory voting’ in The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences, edited by: N. J. Smelser & B. Baltes.
    5. Keaney, E. & Rogers, B.,(2006), A Citizen`s Duty: Voter Inequality and the Case for the Compulsory Turnout, Institute for Public Policy Research.
    6. Sear, c. & Strickland,p.(2003), Compulsory Voting, Standard and Vote, available online at:
    7. The Electoral Commission of the UK Parliament (2006) , Compulsory voting around the world.


    1. B) Articles
    2. Bart, Engelen (2007),” Why Liberals Can Favour Compulsory Attendance,Political Studies Association”, Politics, Vol.29, No.3.
    3. lundell, Krister,(2012),” Civic Participation and Political Trust: The Impact of Compulsory Voting”, Representaion, Vol.48, No.2.London: Routledge.
    4. C) Documents
    5. 9. African(BANJUL) Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Adopted 27 June 1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982), entered into force 21 October 1986.
    6. 10. American Convention on Human Rights, Adopted at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Human Rights, San Jose, Costa Rica, 22 November 1969. 
    7. 11. Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 25: The right to participate in public affairs, voting rights and the right of equal access to public service (Art. 25): Human Rights Committee. 07/12/1996, CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.7, General Comment No. 25.
    8. General Assembly ,International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, General Assembly resolution 2200 A.
    9. Malkopoulou, Anthoula, (2009), Lost Voters: Participation in EU elections and the case for compulsory voting, CEPS Working Document No.317/July 2009.
    10. 14. Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, ETS No.009, Paris, 20/03/1952.
    11. 15. General Assembly, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, General Assembly resolution 217 A.
    12. 16. United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Democracy in Latin America – Towards a citizens’democracy , 2004.


    1. D) Cases
    2. 17. Human Rights Committee, Christopher Alger v Australia (13 July 2017) , CCPR/C/120/D/2237/2013.
    3. 18. European Human Rights Commission, v Austria, Application No.4982/71, Decision of 22 March 1972.
    4. 19. European Human Rights Commission ,X. v Austria, Application No.1718/62, Decision of 22 April 1965.


    1. E) Websites
    3. /compulsory voting


    References in Persian and Arabic:

    1. A) Books
    2. Abbasi, Bijan (2006), Human rights and fundamental freedoms, Tehran: Dadgostar Publicayion, Second edition (In Persian).
    3. Abolhamd, Abdolhamid (2005), Basics of politics, Tehran: Toos Publication, Third edition (In Persian).
    4. Abracrumpi, Nicholas et al, (1997), Dictionary of Sociology, Translated by: Hassan pouyan, Tehran: Chapakhsh Publication, First edition (In Persian).
    5. Aghmohammadaghaei, Ehsan (2013), The role of the government in the process of people's participation, Tehran: Shahr Danesh Legal Studies and Research Institute, First edition (In Persian).
    6. Ahmadi, Ali (2010), Election in Iran, Tehran: Mizan Publication, First edition (In Persian).
    7. Bashiriyeh, Hussein (2001), Democracy for all, Tehran: Negahe Moaser publication, First edition (In Persian).
    8. Cohen, Karl (1994), Democracy, translated by Fariborz Majidi, Tehran : Kharazmi Publications (In Persian).
    9. Dabirnia, Alireza (2014), founding power; An exploration of the foundations of modern Constitutional Law, Tehran: Shahr Danesh Legal Studies and Research Institute, First edition (In Persian).
    10. DehKhoda, Aliakbar,(bita), Loghatnameh, Tehran: Loghatnameh publishing organization (In Persian).
    11. Gharayagh Zandi, Davoud & Poursaeed, Farzad (2006), Civil institutions and identity in Iran, Tehran: Tamaddone Irani Publication, First edition (In Persian).
    12. Ghari Seyedfatemi, Seyed Mohammad (2009), Human rights in the contemporary world, Volume one and two, Tehran: Shahr Danesh Legal Studies and Research Institute, First edition (In Persian).
    13. Ghazi, Seyed Abolfazl (2003), Fundamental rights and political institutions, 12th edition Tehran: Mizan (In Persian).
    14. Ghorbannia, Naser (2015), Human rights and humanitarian rights, Tehran: Research Institute of Islamic Culture and Thought, second edition (In Persian).
    15. Hekmatnia, Mahmoud (2010), Public opinion, Tehran: Research Institute of Islamic Culture and Thought, Second edition (In Persian).
    16. Ismail Seini, Mahmoud, (bita), Al-Maqnaz al-Arabi al-Moaser, Beirut, Lebanon: School of Al-Nasheron (In Arabic).
    17. Khosravi, Hassan (2008), Democratic electoral Legal system, Tehran: Majd Publication, First edition (In Persian).
    18. Manochehri, Abbas (1989), Academic Dictionary, Tehran: Amirkabir (In Persian).
    19. Movahed, Mohammad Ali (2005), In the air of truth and justice; From natural rights to human rights, Tehran: Karnameh publication (In Persian).
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    1. B) Articles
    2. Dabirnia, Alireza & Assadabadi, Tayyebeh (1395), "People's sovereignty in the political thought of the West and Islam", quarterly comparative research of Islamic and Western law, third year, third issue (In Persian).
    3. Mohseni Tabrizi, Alireza (1996), "Alienation as an obstacle for participation and national development", research letter, first year, first issue (In Persian).
    4. Rasekh, Mohammad (2005), "Theory of Right and International Human Rights ", Legal Research Journal, No. 41 (In Persian).