San Diego Law Review


James Allan

Library of Congress Authority File


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My job is to comment briefly on Ilya Somin’s Article, How Foot Voting Enhances Political Freedom. Of necessity, then, I will be selective. The thrust of the Article—which appears to be an excerpt from an upcoming book—is that “ballot box voting” compares unfavorably to “foot voting.” The terms are Somin’s, not mine. The former phrase refers to what we would normally just call “voting.” The latter refers to what would normally fall under the aegis of migration, immigration, emigration, or even moving to another jurisdiction. And when we compare those two alternatives—voting in a democratic election and picking up one’s life to move to another jurisdiction, be it another state in a federal jurisdiction or be it another country—the Somin line is that the latter, foot voting, is more valuable. It does more to allow individuals to express their political choices; it does more to enable individuals to improve their lot in life; it involves much more in the way of making decisions that really matter; it is considerably more efficacious in advancing political freedom and allowing individuals’ choice to be decisive; it is in many ways, and to a great extent, the superior alternative.

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