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Voting: Right or privilege?

Should voting be a right or a privilege?


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Smeagol

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I see the thread is mainly about denial of access to the polls. I don't see anything in the constitution on banning people from voting, including those who are incarcerated, although I'd personally prefer to see anyone who commits felonies banned from voting at least as long as they're in prison at a minimum.
 
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Kandahar

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Well, the Constitution doesn't explicit prohibit banning certain people from voting...but I think it's fairly easy to logically infer that from the text. Article IV guarantees all states a "republican form of government" which would seem to necessitate regular state elections, Article I explicitly says that the House of Representatives is to be elected by the people, and Amendment 17 explicitly says that the Senate is to be elected by the people.

So there's no question that elections and voting are absolutely required by the US Constitution, both for state and federal offices. If we all agree on that principle, then it's just a question of whether voting rights can be taken away from certain people while still maintaining a "republican form of government" and whether disenfranchising certain people means that various officeholders were truly "elected by the people" as the Constitution demands. It would seem to me that the guarantee in Amendment 14 of "equal protection under the law" would be violated if some adult citizens were allowed to vote and others were not.
 

Phys251

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From the United States Constitution:

14th Amendment: "But when the right to vote at any election..."
15th Amendment: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote..."
16th Amendment: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote..."
24th Amendment: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote..."
26th Amendment: "The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote..."

I am having an incredibly tough time figuring out how the United States could consider voting a privilege when it is explicitly defined as a right in FIVE DIFFERENT AMENDMENTS. Not even gun rights get that much attention.
 

TheDemSocialist

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Its a right that is guaranteed to you once you reach the age of 18.
 

sKiTzo

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What do you think? Should voting be an inalienable right? Or should it be earned via good citizenship, devotion to the nation, or some other criterion?[/QUOT

Both answers are correct - we reserve the RIGHT to have that PRIVILEGE
 

RGacky3

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If you have to live with the outcome of the decision, you should be allowed to partake in the decision ... this is the whole basis of democracy ... So yeah ... its a right.
 

RGacky3

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BTW, this isn't a legal question its a philisophical one.

I dont' think teh state shoudl exist as an institution, and I think voting should be allowed for eveyrone that has to live with the outcome of a decision ... the state should'nt get to pick who can and who cannot vote, because the state ONLY exists (theoretically, not in practice) to serve the people, the people come first the state is secondary, the state's power is a privilege, that the people bestow apon it, it must constantly justify itself to the people, not the other way around.

Of coarse in reality, the state exists to protect private privilege. But what I was writing is the ideal.
 

Cameron

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Voting is the most important right we have, because it is through voting that we protect all of our other rights. As such, there should be the least restrictions on the right to vote of all our rights.
 

Dezaad

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To my view, generally, society cannot legitimately expect lawfulness from those adult citizens who had no meaningful role in lawmaking. That is, if I have no representation in making and changing the laws, then why should I follow them?

I am not sure if that makes it a right, but it certainly moves society to want to make suffrage universal.
 
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