Should Everyone Be Allowed to Vote?
In a democracy, every adult citizen should be allowed to vote.
This should not be a Q1 violation so long as:
- "Adult citizen" is well defined, and
- You think that the benefits of everyone being able to vote outweigh any problems with individual voters, and/or you do not feel that there are groups or types of person who should be excluded from voting because they are unable to vote competently or correctly.
So long as everyone agrees on who is an adult citizen, this is not a Q2 violation.
When the United States was first formed, only a small group of people were given the right to vote. Over the years, this right has been expanded until today almost any U.S. citizen over the age of 18 can cast a ballot.
Do you think that there should be even fewer restrictions on who can vote? Do you think that some groups of people are either unable to make legitimate electoral choices or have not earned (or have lost) the right to vote?
Consider these groups of people. Which do you think should be allowed to vote?
- People with certain mental illnesses or learning disabilities.
- People of a very advanced age.
- Convicted felons.
- People without a certain minimum amount of education.
- People who can’t read or speak English.
- People who have not taken the time to become informed about the issues and candidates in question.
- People who have only recently become citizens.
- Citizens who are living abroad.
- People who have never lived in the U.S. but are citizens by birth.
- Residents of U.S. territories that are not states.
- Long-time resident aliens.
- People with extreme political opinions.
- People who have protested against the government.
For some of these groups, if you think they should not be allowed to vote, you will need to consider what legal means could be used to judge whether people are part of that group. For example, how would you test whether someone is sufficiently informed about an issue?
You might also consider whether or not people should be allowed to vote on all issues. Should ballot measures be open to anyone in an affected area? Or should only people directly impacted by a law be allowed to vote for or against that law?
Even if it is legal for you to vote, are there situations in which it might be immoral for you to vote? For example, which of these would you consider moral?
- Voting on a ballot measure even though the only thing you know about it is its title.
- Voting against all ballot measures regardless of what they are because you think there are too many laws already.
- Flipping a coin because you can’t decide how to vote.
- Going through the list of judges and voting for all the women.
- Going through the list of judges and voting for the ones with "American-sounding" names.
- Registering as a Democrat even though you are a Republican so you can vote in the Democratic primary and, hopefully, help get someone unelectable nominated.
- Writing in a vote for "Gumby" because you can’t vote for any of the candidates with a clear conscience.
You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.