Democracy and Disenfranchisement
The Morality of Electoral Exclusions
University Press 2014
Modern democracy is build around a collection of moral and political commitments. Among the most familiar and central of these concern voting. It is commonly held that legitimate government requires a system of universal suffrage. Yet, democrats tend to hold that certain exclusions are permissible. For example, it is commonly thought that children and the mentally impaired may justifiably be disenfranchised. We also tend to think that the disenfranchisement of felons and non-citizen residents is permissible. Indeed, these exclusion are often thought to be consistent with universal suffrage.
In Democracy and Disenfranchisement: The Morality of Electoral Exclusions (Oxford University Press, 2014), Claudio Lopez-Guerra challenges our common understanding of voting. Ultimately, he argues in favor of an elitist system of enfranchisement by lottery. He also criticizes arguments that universal suffrage is consistent with the exclusion of children, the mentally impaired, felons, and resident non-citizens. The result is a fascinating and provocative exploration of, and challenge to, the fundamental idea that voting is a basic right.