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Who Should Vote: The Principle of Affect

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Following our good dead friend Aristotle, democracy is literally rule of the people (demos). Once a democratic form of government is chosen, then there is the matter of sorting out which people do the ruling and how they will be selected. In the United States (which is technically a republic) a practical issue of democracy is determining who gets to vote. Those familiar with United States history know that the categories of people who can vote has grown and shrunk over time. When the United States was founded, voting was limited to white male landowners 21 or older could vote.  In 1868 the 14th Amendment granted full citizenship and voting rights to all men born or naturalized in the United States.  In 1870 the 15th Amendment eliminated some of the racial barriers to voting, but many states used various tactics to suppress voters. In 1920 the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote and in 1924 the right was extended to native Americans. In 1971 the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18. Currently, Republicans are engaged in a nationwide effort to make it more difficult to vote and are justifying this by appealing to their big lie of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. But there is an interesting philosophical issue here, which is the matter of deciding who should have the right to vote. Intuitively, there should be limits on who can vote in specific elections. To illustrate, it would be odd to claim that citizens of Maine should be able to vote to determine the governor of Florida or that United States citizens should vote for the mayor of Moscow. There is also the intuitively appealing exclusion of some people based on age. For example, few would argue that 1 year old infants should have the right to vote. But mere intuitions are not enough, what is needed is a principle or set of principles to determine who should be able to vote in a certain context. One approach to voting is to limit it based on the principle of status. That is, voting. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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