The Right To Vote

My last post sparked quite bit of discussion on an oblique topic; does a Right to vote exist? The email traffic was also filled with statements that essentially said, “I don’t want any more Conservatives to vote,” and “I don’t want any more Liberals to vote.”

Is there a Right to vote? To fully answer such a question requires the definition of almost every term in the debate. Is their a legal right to vote? While not enumerated as such in the Constitution, I believe the answer is yes. Is there a philosophical right to vote? Again, I think yes. This is a much deeper discussion involving the legal, social and philosophical background of the founding of America as well as the French Revolution. In this tiny space I merely offer my opinion that a right to vote exists in the fabric of the American soul.

The best dissent came from my friend and fellow blogger Eric at Self-Composed. We met through StumbleUpon, the social blogging network, and quickly enjoyed exchanging information and personal insights. Besides, Eric lives in Hawaii which has vaulted him to epic status in my pantheon of blogger friends.

He has has touched a nerve where I confess I do not have a simple answer. His post, Voting Is Not A Right, is a must read in my opinion. What about the lazy, uninformed, uneducated, nearly senseless voters of our day? Often, these voters are labeled the Undecided. Here is a particularly pithy section:

“Voting is serious business and it should be left to serious people who are already invested and engaged. If someone needs to be bribed, cajoled, begged, or pleaded with before they’ll get off their dead ass and go register, they shouldn’t be involved in the political process. If someone needs to track them down and stick a registration form in their face and give them a pep talk, they shouldn’t be voting.”

As always, there are bigger issues in our country than the candidates for the two major parties and Eric has raised one. Questions of vision and what we want out country to be like abound. While the election is, in some sense, about which candidate can best deliver those things, Eric is correct in pointing out that voters should be educated and informed.

Laziness in Democracy eventually leads to tyranny.

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1 reply
  1. Eric
    Eric says:

    Great discussion! I’ll meet you halfway being we agree there’s no constitutional right to vote – how’s this: Those who don’t need bribed, begged, or berated to vote to exercise their privilege and meet all other legal requirements have the right to vote “in the fabric of the American soul?”


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