There are three fairly straightforward reasons why we don’t question the idea that encouraging all eligible citizens to register and vote is a good idea:
- The Declaration of Independence makes no distinction when it declares that “all men are created equal” – a phrase that has been expanded through the generations to include men of all races and religions, and women, too; and
- The Constitution of the United States – our constitution – was ordained and established by “We the People of the United States” – again, making no distinction among skin color, gender, language spoken, wealth, intelligence, or any other characteristic that distinguishes one person from another.
In this context, we agree that the right to vote is an inalienable right belonging to all eligible citizens. While society has determined that certain of its citizens should not be eligible to vote, such as those who disqualify themselves from enjoying the rights of society by committing certain crimes, such determinations, while seemingly well-intentioned, have in the past and still today are used to exclude people of color and those with little wealth from the right to vote.
Finally, reason 3) The more people who vote, the more people that are engaged in our democracy. Democracy thrives best when there is participation from its citizens. When participation is low, the democracy becomes more vulnerable to the rise of non-democratic elements of the society.
We’re pretty sure there are many other reasons, but these are the three we think are most relevant.