The right to vote is a deceptively complex legal and moral right. Perhaps because the right is considered a “fundamental” constitutional right, or the foundational right of democratic self-governance, or the right “preservative of all [other] rights,” it is tempting to assume the right to vote has an essential core concept that is relatively obvious and widely shared. Undoubtedly there will be disagreements about specific applications—is felony conviction a justifiable basis, for example, for concluding that a citizen has lost the right to vote—but all rights generate some range of disagreement in application. Such disagreements do not undermine shared agreement on the core interests the right protects.
Sept 3, 2013
93 Va. L. Rev. Online 45