From the Archives: Why You Can’t Vote

If you’ve been hanging around the Margins for a while, you’ve read this one before. I think it’s worth repeating.

voting rights

From sixth century Athens on, who has the vote and why has been a touchy and evolving subject in democracies. People who already have the vote have hesitated to extend it to others for two basic reasons. Those with the vote don’t think those without the vote have the capacity to make good choices. Those with the vote fear they will lose power.

Over the centuries, people in power have come up with plenty of reasons not to extend the franchise to those who don’t yet have it. Here are a few of the classics:

You can’t vote because

  • You’re a slave
  • You’re a woman
  • You don’t own property
  • You don’t own enough property
  • You don’t practice the right religion
  • You are the wrong race or ethnicity
  • Your father or grandfather couldn’t vote

If you’re lucky enough to have the vote, use it.


  1. Iris Seefeldt on November 2, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    Those who have learned to read are considered Literate. That does not make them Literary. Those who listen to “literate” people are considered educated, enlightened if you will. Those who take this enlightenment and pass it on are called revolutionaries in some quarters. In others politicians. So, those who do nothing with this enlightenment, are called “Do Nothings”, slackers, Republicans or Democrats. The Liberals are those on the fence, and then there are the “Anarchists” who wish to get rid of them all and put themselves in power. Those who fallow that mind set have learned through centuries of such revolutions that this does not work either. So what are we left with? People who can read for themselves, evaluate for themselves and deal with it……

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.