The Right to vote?

By this definition most rights that we think are rights are privileges. Even right to live is a privilege. Not sure this is the path you want to go down.

1 Like

It’s a privilege to be an American citizen.

Once a citizen, voting is (or should be) a right.

Emergency medical care is a right that should be extended to all.

Basic medical care is a right that should be extended to all.

1 Like

I disagree. If they want to vote, they should become a citizen. I do believe that permanent legal resident category has value as a distinct set between temporary resident/worker and citizen.

While the right to vote is a fundamental right of our nation, there can be what I consider reasonable restrictions on that right. Registration can be required, but registration should be a balance between easy and secure. All voters’ voting rights are defended when voting rolls are properly maintained (one person one vote). Outcry over removing voters from rolls when they submit a change of address form with the USPS is plain out stupid. If states want to retain the authority over voter registration, there needs to be coordination between them.

When it comes to the voting process, I think there can be restrictions as well. I consider voter IDs a reasonable thing, provided they are low cost (free for persons of lower means), and not too difficult to get. Absentee/mail in voting should be available, postage should be free for both application (if used) and ballots. States that want to automatically send ballots (without request) have a special obligation to maintain up-to-date voter rolls and to track receipt of completed ballots.

It is my impression that elections officials generally are pretty serious about election integrity, and less concerned with political party. It makes me proud to be a voter in that kind of system. We should work hard to preserve it.

1 Like

Yep those democrats as well. As I said earlier my guess is some of those (R or D) are lost in the vagueness of privilege versus right. Voting is a right and a privilege.

I doubt many of the poll responders thought about what limits could be imposed. From minor limits like forcing some people to stand in line for 6 hours to repealing the 19th amendment limits has a wide range of reasonableness.

My concern with republicans is the big lie attack on election integrity has softened the position of sympathetic republicans. The big lie states that voter fraud exists and is rampant. So assuming the big lie is true, politicians need to put limits on voting to insure the “purity” of the vote. Where is the fraud the worst? Where ever a democrat won. So what do we limit? Democrat voters.

I feel like we’re mincing words here. Clearly by the way it’s enforced, there are restrictions. Kids can’t vote, for instance. Neither can non-citizens.

Tangent: This is one of the reasons why I am for birthright citizenship. If you are born here you are a citizen. Removing birthright citizenship allows those in charge of the government at the moment to manipulate citizenship rules such that we end up with a permanent underclass.


Yes, this is the insidious nature of the big lie. I am glad that those who thought there was rampant fraud went to the courts. When the courts found against the claims, it put a legal imprimatur on the investigations that revealed no widespread problems. That should have been the end of it, but you have people who can’t accept it and you get 1/6. On the flip side, the overreach on election integrity causes a knee-jerk reaction on the part of some against reasonable restrictions. It is an unfortunate consequence of our highly polarized system.

1 Like

IMO anyone who wants to be a citizen should become a citizen. It would save so much on the red tape.

I think a lot of “rights” that we think of have a bunch of conditions (right to live, right to property, free speech, etc.), which really makes them not a right, at least not in the categorical imperative sense.

This is the case in the US. There are other requirements to be satisfied (including residency requirements), but it’s far, far easier to become a US citizen than to become a citizen for many European countries. (At least, last time I checked.)

Registration is required. Yes. Registration should occur at time of citizenship and be free and easily accessible. I am an advocate for a national voting ID free and easy to get.

You might want to “See” that yourself. That isn’t actually a thing.

But I do agree that courts have decided that constitutional rights can be limited.

I mean like I think the second you step foot in the US you should be able to become one. And no ridiculous border checks please ain’t nobody got time for that.

That would be extremely terrible for national security.

1 Like

Kinda hard to do a complete FFA at the border and offer any government provided benefits

I agree . . . that is why I pointed out gun ownership rights as an example of limitations placed upon Constitutionally granted rights.

I’m not sure what you mean by “That isn’t actually a thing”. My comment was a loosely worded reference to a famous free speech limitation in order to demonstrate rights are limited.

This article does point out it isn’t actually a test that works well, but my purpose in using the quote wasn’t to probe the boundaries of free speech, but show that limitations have commonly been held to exist on fundamental rights.

Another commonly expressed rights limitation, probably most vividly illustrated by the Simpsons, is that my right to swing my fist ends short of your nose.

I’m no expert on Ancient Rome. But my understanding is that the move to dictatorship happened in part because the early dictators positioned themselves as standing for the people against a what was really a terribly corrupt, oligarchical system. The symptom was the dictatorship, but it seems to me the disease was really the corrupt, oligarchical system.

So I think you have to look at what “strengthening” congress and the courts does in practice. Right now, we have a senate that is more out of sync with popular opinion than it has ever been, in part due to geographical differences between the parties, and in part due to the filibuster. So the President takes more power through executive orders, etc.

I don’t think it makes any sense here to try to fix things by giving Congress more power. The real cause is the disconnect between the senate and the popular vote, and the power it represents. Maybe you think this disconnect is good because it preserves the rights of the minority; maybe you think its bad. But to strengthen congress here is not to reduce populism; it is to give more power to the republicans, which is to effectively give more power to the populists.

Eh, I mean. Governments in ancient times were all pretty corrupt, I’m not sure how easy it is to draw a line from oligarchical to autocratic. The really clear one is the move by populist leaders (strictly populist as in favored by the poor/uneducated masses) to increasingly push the line on what is legal.

A big part of this was as Rome expanded further it became harder and harder to field armies of just Roman Citizens, as had been the norm. Asset requirements were decreased until finally, dramatically, Marius (a “lowborn” himself) eliminated the property requirement from the legions. This made it a lot easier to field an army but suddenly the troops became far more loyal to their (populist) general than to the Senate and to Rome. And thus the Empire is born from loyalty to a populist over loyalty to the state and a nearly endless cycle of civil wars (although in fairness there were some incredibly long periods of peace).

It wasn’t like there was some Parisian-type uprising by the working classes to seize power. Power was taken by force by soldiers.

I think a reasonable example of voting as a privilege is early liberalism. The supposed reason for restricting voting to landed men was that they had the education and means to be able to make a dispassionate decision about what was right for society.

This seems painfully naive to us now, of course. But is not a reason that is rooted in coercion of the poor. Instead, it is supposed to remove coercion from government by basing its actions on the evident “right” decision, as determined by Reason. It is not so different from belief in the modern “technocrat”, who right now is probably best represented by somebody ilke Fauci. These sometimes onerous restrictions on us for covid are not essentially coercive, because they are what is best for everybody from a public health standpoint.

Of course, our landed men did not dispassionately decide what is best. And now we give the vote to everybody as a right. But I think this approach can go too far, too. One philosopher of science made the post-modern suggestion that science had no special access to truth, and consequently we should elect our scientists just like any other political position. Voting has become completely disconnected from any objective truth, and becomes only an exercise in coercive power.

I think this illustrates the point someone else made earlier: voting may be a right, but is also a responsibility to try to vote according to some objective truth, perhaps moral or scientific. And as soon as it is also responsibility, that begs the question: what happens when a person does not live up to that responsibility? And the right becomes less fundamental, at least.