Democratic Integrity – Trustworthiness, Completeness, and Coherence

This paper explores the nature of integrity—understood as trustworthiness, completeness, and coherence—and what it means for a democracy to have integrity of this sort. While “integrity” can be ambiguous when misused, its meaning is knowable if one adopts Wittgenstein’s approach of treating different meanings of a term as if they were members of the same family. Integrity as trustworthiness describes a quality found in something, which engenders people’s trust and confidence in that thing. Integrity as completeness refers to a state of having a bare minimum of elements, which enables the subject matter in question to pursue its ends to the best of its ability. Integrity as coherence differs in that it focusses on the process of integration and reconciliation of elements, such that they bind together to form a whole. By advancing these strands of integrity, I build upon Robert Post’s concept of ‘electoral integrity’ and move beyond the rights-versus-structure debate in election law.