Right/Voting Rights and Suffrage/History

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Voting Rights and Suffrage


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What is the oldest source in any country that mentions this right? 🖉 edit

Multiple 5th-Century BC sources outline the importance of citizen voting to early Athenian democracy. Thucydides’s The History of the Peloponnesian War includes several allusions to the importance of citizen participation in democracy. The first instance comes in Chthe funeral oration of Pericles:

"Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy…instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all." (Thucydides)

The description of participatory democracy as “indispensable” evokes an importance that moves beyond simply advocating for the benefits of democracy. Rather, it implies an intrinsic importance that more closely mirrors that of a political right. The early political foundations of democracy appear again during a speech from Athenagoras:

"It will be said, perhaps, that democracy is neither wise nor equitable, but that the holders of property are also the best fitted to rule. I say, on the contrary, first, that the word demos, or people, includes the whole state, oligarchy only a part; next, that if the best guardians of property are the rich, and the best counsellors the wise, none can hear and decide so well as the many; and that all these talents, severally and collectively, have their just place in a democracy." (Thucydides)

Aristotle also outlines the inner workings of early Athenian democracy after the reforms of Solon and includes several allusions to the intrinsic importance of suffrage in The Constitution of the Athenians, most likely written between 328 and 322 BC. In his discussion of the importance of individuals’ right to appeal grievances in Athenian court, Aristotle states that “when the democracy is master of the voting-power, it is master of the constitution,” and that “the masses have owed their strength” to Athens’s democratic institutions (Avalon Project). While there is no explicit mention of suffrage as a “right” per se, Aristotle’s emphasis on “voting-power” as a fundamental element of Athenian civil society serves as one of the older examples of voting as a “right.” However, it is important to note that voting in Ancient Athens, while highly valued and perceived as a right for some, was not universal, and only free adult men, whose parents were also Athenian, were granted the right to vote.

References:

Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, Avalon Project

Thucydides, Peloponnesian War


What historical forces or events, if any, contributed to a widespread belief in its importance? 🖉 edit

The original formation of the right to vote within the Constitution was motivated by a worry as to who would maintain control within the political sphere. The framers of the Constitution realized that the right to vote is a fundamental component of democracy and liberty. To this extent, they did not want to fully restrict voting rights of minority groups, however, they also worried that non-property owners could construct a majority over property owners if they were to allow voting rights to be expanded to all. Because of this dilemma, the framers originally gave states the power to enact their own voter restrictions (The Library of Congress).

After years of discrimination with regard to suffrage, the Selma to Mongomery March took place. Many Americans were angry with the little weight the 15th Amendment actually held in the South. On March 7th, 1965, more than 600 Americans marched through Selma Alabama, led by John Lewis, a political activist. They marched to peacefully protest the ongoing racial discrimination. The protesters faced violence from state troopers, and many were unrightfully arrested. The sight of unwarranted and brutal violence ultimately motivated many to fight for racial equality and more equitable voting rights. Martin Luther King, Jr. was among those who were arrested. He had helped to rally the state for change when he came to the city to speak in January and expressed his support for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who worked to register black voters (A&E Television Networks, 2009). Evidently, the call for racial equality played a large role in the recognition of the importance of voting rights.

Equally important were the forces that expanded voting rights for women. Beginning in 1840, when Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were barred from a conference in London because they were female, they began to fight for women's rights. In 1948, they established the United State’s first women’s rights convention in order to express their grievances, specifically with women’s lack of voting rights. This led to the formation of the National Suffrage Association by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton where they argued for a universal suffrage amendment which would include women. Following was the creation of the American Woman Suffrage Association, which operated on a more moderate platform and even succeeded to win suffrage for women in some states, as they operated on a state by state basis. This led to the establishment of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, an integration of the two previous associations. After many protests and amendment proposals from 1878 until 1919, women were finally granted the right to vote by the 19th Amendment (The Library of Congress).

References:

History.com Editors. “Voting Rights Act of 1965.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 9 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/topics/black-history/voting-rights-act.

The Founders and the Vote : The Right to Vote : Elections : Classroom Materials at the Library of Congress : Library of Congress. The Library of Congress. (n.d.). https://www.loc.gov/classroom-materials/elections/right-to-vote/the-founders-and-the-vote/.

What is the oldest written source in this country that mentions this right?

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Afghanistan 🖉 edit

The 1964 Constitution of Afghanistan turned Afghanistan into a modern democracy, and the right to vote was established in Article 46. The 1964 Constitution of Afghanistan granted women equal rights including universal suffrage and the right to run for office.

References:

University of Nebraska, "Constitution of Afghanistan": https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=afghanenglish

Albania 🖉 edit

Article 28 of the 1928 Fundamental Statute of the Kingdom of Albania asserted that Deputies serving in Parliament should be "elected by the people according to law", without offering further specific details about the right to vote.

Article 45 of the Republic of Albania’s 1998 Constitution guarantees the right to vote to the People of Albania so they can exercise their power through their elected representatives in the Parliament (Berhani, I. "Elections and Implementation of the Law of Elections in Albania").

References:

1928 Fundamental Statute of the Kingdom of Albania: https://www.hoelseth.com/royalty/albania/albconst19281201.html

Albania Constitution (1998): https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Albania_2016?lang=en.

Berhani, Ilir, "Elections and Implementation of the Law of Elections in Albania." (2015). Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 6(2 S5), 155: https://www.richtmann.org/journal/index.php/mjss/article/view/6173/5918

Algeria 🖉 edit

Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 and a new Constitution was passed the following year. Article 13 of the 1963 Constitution held: " Every citizen having reached 19 years of age has the right to vote ." In the 1989 Constitution, Article 62 holds that all people meeting the legal requirements have the right to vote and to be elected (Constitute Project, "Algeria 1989" ).

References:

1963 Algeria Constitution: “The Algerian Constitution.” The Middle East journal 17, no. 4 (1963): 446–450.

1989 Algeria Constitution: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Algeria_2016

Andorra 🖉 edit

Article 24 of the 1993 Constitution states that all citizens of age and in full use of their rights are guaranteed suffrage (Constitute Project, "Andorra 1993" ).

https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Andorra_1993?lang=en.

Angola 🖉 edit

According to Article 20 of the 1975 Constitution, "All citizens over the age of eighteen, other than those legally deprived of political rights, have the right and the duty to take an active part in public life, to vote and to be elected or appointed to any State organ, and to discharge their mandate with complete dedication to the cause of the Fatherland and the Angolan people." However, according to Britannica.com: "The constitution of 1975 established a one-party state headed by a president who was also chairman of the MPLA, which declared itself a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party in 1977."

Article 28 of the 1992 Constitution offered a revised characterization of the right to vote: "It shall be the right and duty of all citizens aged over 18, other than those legally deprived of political and civil rights, to take an active part in public life, to vote and stand for election to any State body, and to fulfill their offices with full dedication to the cause of the Angolan nation."

Article 54 of the 2010 Angola Constitution uses similar language: "1. Every citizen who has attained the age of eighteen years shall have the right to vote and stand for election for any state or local authority body and to serve their terms of office or mandates, under the terms of the Constitution and the law. 2. The right to vote may not be restricted except with regard to the incapacities and ineligibilities prescribed in the Constitution. 3. The exercise of the right to vote shall be personal and non-transferable and shall be a civic duty."

References:

1975 Angola Constitution: “The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Angola.” World Constitutions Illustrated, Heinonline. https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/rsl2&i=197

1992 Angola Constitution: https://constitutionnet.org/sites/default/files/Angola%20Constitution.pdf

2010 Angola Constitution: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Angola_2010

https://www.britannica.com/place/Angola/Government-and-society

Antigua and Barbuda 🖉 edit

Universal suffrage was introduced in Antigua and Barbuda in 1951 (National Encyclopedia, "Antigua and Barbuda- Politics, government, and taxation"). Antigua and Barbuda’s 1981 Constitution contains the first assertion of the right to vote in the country’s independent history. Section 40 specifically outlines this right.

References:

The 1981 Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1981/1106/pdfs/uksi_19811106_en.pdf

National Encyclopedia: https://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Americas/Antigua-and-Barbuda-POLITICS-GOVERNMENT-AND-TAXATION.html#google_vignette

Argentina 🖉 edit

Men received the right to vote in 1912: "In 1912, the Sáenz Peña law, named for the president at the time, guaranteed universal male suffrage, paving the way for the Radical Party under the leadership of Hipólito Yrigoyen to take power." (Hammond, 66) Women received the right to vote nationwide in Argentina in 1947: "The ratification of the suffrage law in 1947 represented a significant milestone for the feminist movement and a major victory for Perón’s administration." (Hammond, 172)

In 1983, Argentina returned to democracy after almost eight years of authoritarian rule. In April 1994 elections were held to form a Constituent Assembly because of the provisions made to the 1853 Constitution. Under the new Constitution the president is directly elected for a four-year term by universal adult suffrage (ACE Project, “Electoral Systems- Argentina").

References:

Hammond, Gregory. Women's Suffrage Movement and Feminism in Argentina from Roca to Peron, University of New Mexico Press, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/gwu/detail.action?docID=3039417.

https://aceproject.org/main/english/es/esy_ar.htm

Armenia 🖉 edit

Article 1 of the 1995 Constitution of Armenia states that Armenia is a "sovereign, democratic state." Article 2 states: "The people exercise their power through free elections and referenda, as well as through state and local self-governing bodies and public officials as provided by the Constitution." Article 27 of the 1995 Constitution states: "Citizens of the Republic of Armenia who have attained the age of eighteen years are entitled to participate in the government of the state directly or through their freely elected representatives. Citizens found to be incompetent by a court ruling, or duly convicted of a crime and serving a sentence may not vote or be elected."

References:

"Constitution of the Republic of Armenia" (1995): http://www.parliament.am/legislation.php?sel=show&ID=2425&lang=eng

Australia 🖉 edit

Differing groups in Australia have come to enjoy the right to vote in varying periods in the country's history. According to the Museum of Australian Democracy: "At the colony or state level, women won voting rights over a period of two decades. The first colony to grant women the vote was South Australia in 1893, while the last was Victoria in 1908. Women have been able to vote in federal elections since 1903, due to the Franchise Act of 1902." According to the National Museum of Australia, "From the first federal electoral Act in 1902 to 1965, when the last state changed its law, tens of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were subject to regulations which prohibited them from voting at federal and state elections. It wasn’t until 1984 that Indigenous people were finally treated like other voters and required to enrol and vote at elections."

References:

"Indigenous Australians’ right to vote": https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/indigenous-australians-right-to-vote

Museum of Australian Democracy, "Elections and voting in Australia": http://static.moadoph.gov.au/ophgovau/media/images/apmc/docs/62-Elections.pdf?ref=hir.harvard.edu

Austria 🖉 edit

In Austria, universal suffrage for men was introduced by the Voting Rights Act of 1907 and the country was one of the first in Europe to introduce women’s suffrage in 1918 (Metropole, “Your Right to Vote in Austria”).

References:

https://metropole.at/vienna-legal-right-voting/

Azerbaijan 🖉 edit

Article 56 of the 1995 Constitution of Azerbaijan established the right to vote for citizens.

References:

“Azerbaijan 1995 (rev. 2016).” Constitute. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Azerbaijan_2016

Blaustein, Albert P., and Gisbert H. Flanz. Constitutions of the Countries of the World; a Series of Updated Texts, Constitutional Chronologies and Annotated Bibliographies. "Azerbaijan Republic, Booklet 2, 1996" Permanent ed. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y: Oceana Publications, 1971.

Bahrain 🖉 edit

According to Article one of the 1973 Constitution, "The citizens shall have the right to participate in the public affairs of the State and enjoy political rights, beginning with the right to vote, in accordance with this Constitution and the conditions and procedures set forth in the law." This right is also found in Chapter I, Article 1 of the 2002 Bahrain Constitution with amendments through 2017: "Citizens, both men and women, are entitled to participate in public affairs and may enjoy political rights, including the right to vote and to stand for elections, in accordance with this Constitution and the conditions and principles laid down by law." Elections choose members of the lower house of Parliament. According to the US Department of State Bahrain 2022 Human Rights Report, "The parliament comprises an upper house appointed by the king, the Shura (Consultative) Council, and an elected Council of Representatives, each with 40 seats. Parliament can propose laws but does not draft legislation."

References:

“Bahrain Old Constitution (1973).” International Constitutional Law Project: https://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/ba01000_.html

Bahrain 2002 (Rev. 2017) Constitution.” Constitute: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Bahrain_2017?lang=en.

US Department of State Bahrain 2022 Human Rights Report: https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/415610_BAHRAIN-2022-HUMAN-RIGHTS-REPORT.pdf

Bangladesh 🖉 edit

Article 122 of the 1972 Bangladesh Constitution describes the following qualifications for voters: "(1) The elections to Parliament shall be on the basis of adult franchise. (2) A person shall be entitled to be enrolled on the electoral roll for a constituency delimited the purpose of election to Parliament, if he- (a) is a citizen of Bangladesh; (b) is not less than eighteen years of age; c) does not stand declared by a competent court to be of unsound mind; and (d) is or is deemed by law to be a resident of that constituency."

References:

http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/research/bangladesh-constitution.pdf

Barbados 🖉 edit

In 1950 universal adult suffrage was introduced in Barbados for all of 21 years of age and over. In 1963 the right to vote was extended to those having reached the age of 18 years old.

References:

History of the form of Government in Barbados: https://www.electoral.barbados.gov.bb/25104-2/

Belarus 🖉 edit

Article 38 of the 1994 Constitution of the Republic of Belarus states that citizens have the right to vote.

References:

1994 Constitution of the Republic of Belarus: https://heinonline-org.proxygw.wrlc.org/HOL/Page?collection=cow&handle=hein.cow/zzby0006&id=4&men_tab=srchresults

1994 Constitution of the Republic of Belarus as amended in 1996: https://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/?pdf=CDL(2003)065-e

Belgium 🖉 edit

Belgian citizens are automatically registered on the electoral rolls when reaching the age of 18 and are subject to compulsory voting under Article 62 of the Belgian Constitution (Legislationline, “The Belgian Constitution”). Universal suffrage rights date to 1948, when women were granted the right to vote. The minimum age to vote was lowered to 18 years in 1981. (The Belgian Senate, "Parliamentary Election")

References:

Legislation Online, "The Belgian Constitution": https://legislationline.org/sites/default/files/documents/98/BELG_Constitution.pdf

The Belgian Senate, "Parliamentary Election": https://www.senate.be/english/LegElectionsEN.html

Belize 🖉 edit

According to section 92 of the 1981 Constitution, "At any general election-every citizen of Belize or a citizen of any Commonwealth Country who has attained the age of eighteen years and who satisfies the requirements of the Representation of the People Act shall have the right to vote;"

According to Freedom House, "The 31 members of the House of Representatives are directly elected to five-year terms. The Senate has 12 seats. The ruling party, the opposition, and several civil associations select the senators, who are then appointed by the governor general." (Freedom House, “Belize”).

References:

1981 Constitution of Belize: https://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Belize/belize81.html

Freedom House, "Belize": https://freedomhouse.org/country/belize/freedom-world/2023

Benin 🖉 edit

Article 3 of the 15 February 1959 Constitution of the Republic of Dahomey asserted universal, secret, and equal suffrage.

Currently, the president is elected to a five-year term by popular vote, and is eligible for two terms. National Assembly Delegates are elected to four-year terms. (Freedom House, “Benin”).

References:

"Of the State and of Sovereignty," Republique du Dahomey, Constitution du 15 fevrier 1959 (1959): 57-57

Freedom House, "Freedom in the World, 2023: Benin": https://freedomhouse.org/country/benin/freedom-world/2023

Bhutan 🖉 edit

Article 23(2) of the 2008 Bhutan Constitution discusses the right to vote: "A person shall have the right to vote by direct adult suffrage through secret ballot at an election if the person is: (a) A Bhutanese citizen as evidenced by a Citizenship Card: (b) Not less than eighteen years of age: (c) Registered in the civil registry of that constituency for not less than one year, prior to the date of the election; and (d) Not otherwise disqualified from voting under any law in force in Bhutan.

References:

2008 Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan: "Article 23: Elections," Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2008 : 46-47: https://heinonline-org.proxygw.wrlc.org/HOL/Page collection=cow&handle=hein.cow/zzbt0002&id=55&men_tab=srchresults

Bolivia 🖉 edit

Section 2 Article 26 of the Constitution grants the right for universal suffrage for all people (Constitute Project, “Bolivia’'s Constitution of 2009” ). According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the right to vote was extended to women in 1952.

References:

“Bolivia (Plurinational Republic of) 2009.” Constitute. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Bolivia_2009

Inter-Parliamentary Union, "Women's Suffrage": http://archive.ipu.org/wmn-e/suffrage.htm

Bosnia and Herzegovina 🖉 edit

In accordance with Article II 1, Article IV 1.2 and 4.a and the Article V 1.a of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article V of the Annex 3 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Election Law Of Bosnia And Herzegovina was developed in 2001 to promote free and fair elections (Legislationline, “Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina”). According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the right to vote was extended to women in 1949, when Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of Yugoslavia.

References:

Legislationline, “Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina”: https://legislationline.org/sites/default/files/documents/e8/Bosnia_Herzegovina_election_law_2001_am2016_en.pdf

Inter-Parliamentary Union, "Women's Suffrage": http://archive.ipu.org/wmn-e/suffrage.htm

Botswana 🖉 edit

Article 67 of the 1966 Constitution of Botswana described the right to vote, which was granted to citizens of at least 21 years of age meeting residency requirements. An amendment in 1997 lowered the minimum age of voters to 18 years old.

References:

English text of the Constitution of 1966 as amended to Act No. 1 of 1983 [52] (2016) Chapter V: Parliament https://heinonline-org.proxygw.wrlc.org/HOL/Page?collection=cow&handle=hein.cow/zzbw0006&id=52&men_tab=srchresults

The Constitution {Amendment) Act, 1997: https://botswanalaws.com/StatutesActpdf/CONSTITUTION%20(AMENDMENT)%20ACT,%2018%20OF%201997.pdf

Brazil 🖉 edit

Women received the right to vote in Brazil in 1932. According to Brazil's Superior Electoral Court, "With the enactment of Decree No. 21,076 (first electoral code in Brazil), the Electoral Court and its structure was created, with a Superior Court and Regional Courts in each state. Among the code's important innovations, women’s right to vote and to be elected stands out – expressed in a legal provision for the first time. In addition, the decree instituted the 5th model of electoral title, secret ballot, and proportional representation."

References:

Superior Electoral Court, "History of the Electoral Justice System": https://international.tse.jus.br/en/superior-electoral-court/history-of-the-electoral-jujstice-system

Brunei 🖉 edit

According to Freedom House, "The unicameral Legislative Council has no political standing independent of the sultan, who appoints its 33 members. Brunei has not held direct legislative elections since 1962."

References:

Freedom House, "Freedom in the World 2023: Brunei" https://freedomhouse.org/country/brunei/freedom-world/2023

Bulgaria 🖉 edit

According to Article 86 of the 1879 Constitution of the Principality of Bulgaria: "The ordinary National Assembly is composed of Deputies, chosen by direct popular election, in the proportion of one representative for 10,000 individuals of either sex. The Deputies are chosen for a term of three years. The electors are all Bulgarian subjects over twenty-one years of age, and in the enjoyment of civil and political rights. Any Bulgarian subject who enjoys civil and political rights, is over thirty years of age, and can read and write, may be chosen Deputy. A special electoral law will regulate the proceedings of the elections."

Under the 1991 Constitution Article 42, every citizen above the age of 18 is free to participate in elections of state and local authorities and in referendums (Constitute Project, "Bulgaria's Constitution of 1991 with Amendments through 2015" ).

References:

1879 Constitution of the Principality of Bulgaria: English translation of the Bulgarian original text of the Constitution of 1879 6 (2014) Chapter XIV: The Ordinary National Assembly: https://heinonline-org.proxygw.wrlc.org/HOL/Page?collection=cow&handle=hein.cow/zzbg0031&id=7&men_tab=srchresults

1991 Bulgaria Constitution: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Bulgaria_2015?lang=en.

Burkina Faso 🖉 edit

Articles 3-5 of the 1959 Constitution of Upper Volta discussed voting rights. Article 3 stated that "The Republic of Upper Volta is democratic. Its principle is: government of the people, by the people and for the people." Article 4 asserted the location of sovereignty in the people as a whole: "Sovereignty belongs to the people. No section of the people, nor any individual may arrogate its exercise." Article 5 treated the universality of suffrage: "The people exercise their sovereignty by their representatives. Suffrage is universal, equal and secret. All citizens, of both sexes, of majority, enjoying their civil and political rights, are electors."

Under Article 33 of Title II in the 1991 Constitution of Burkina Faso, as revised in 2015, suffrage is direct or indirect and is universal, equal and secret (Constitute Project, “Burkina Faso's Constitution of 1991 with Amendments through 2015” ).

References:

English Translation of the French Official Original Text of the Constitution of 1959 3-4 (2021) Title I: Of the State and of Sovereignty: https://heinonline-org.proxygw.wrlc.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.cow/zzbf0033&id=3&collection=cow&index=

1991 Constitution of Burkina Faso 1991 as revised in 2015: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Burkina_Faso_2015

Burundi 🖉 edit

Under Article 8 of Title I, of The State and of The Sovereignty of The People, all Brudians are granted universal suffrage if they are 18 years of age (Constitute Project, “Burundi's Constitution of 2005” ). Women gained the right to vote in Burundi in 1961. (Ramirez et.al. 1997,

References:

"Burundi 2005 Constitution": https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Burundi_2005

Ramirez, Francisco O, Yasemin Soysal, and Suzanne Shanahan. “The Changing Logic of Political Citizenship: Cross-National Acquisition of Women’s Suffrage Rights, 1890 to 1990.” American Sociological Review 62.5 (1997): 744.

Cambodia 🖉 edit

Article 48 of the 1947 Cambodia Constitution stated: "Any Cambodian citizen, who is fully 20 years old is an elector, provided that he is not deprived of his civil rights and that he fulfills the conditions determined by the Electoral Law. Soldiers and officers on the active list can neither be electors nor eligible. It is the same for the monks on account of the Buddhist dogmas."

Khmer citizens 18 years or older are granted the right to vote through universal suffrage under Article 34 of the 1993 Constitution.

References:

1947 Cambodia Constitution: Advocatetanmoy Law Library. https://advocatetanmoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/cambodia-constitution-1947.pdf

1993 Cambodia Constitution as revised up to 1999: https://pressocm.gov.kh/en/archives/9539

Cameroon 🖉 edit

According to the 1961 Constitution: "National sovereignty shall be vested in the Cameroonian People, which shall exercise such sovereignty either through its deputies in the Federal Assembly or by way of referendum. No section of the People, nor any individual, may assume the exercise thereof. The vote shall be equal and secret; all citizens who have attained the age of twenty-one years shall participate therein."

Under Part I, The State and Sovereignty, Article 2 of the current Cameroon Constitution, voting is equal, secret and by universal suffrage. It is granted to every citizen 20 years of age and older (Constitute Project, “Cameroon's Constitution of 1972 with Amendments through 2008” ).

References:

1961 Constitution of Cameroon: https://condor.depaul.edu/mdelance/images/Pdfs/Federal%20Constitution%20of%20Cameroon.pdf

1972 Constitution of Cameroon as revised up to 2008: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Cameroon_2008?lang=en

Canada 🖉 edit

In 1876, only men who were 21 years of age or older, and who owned property were able to vote in federal elections. In 1918 Canadian women were given the right to vote in federal elections if they met the same eligibility criteria as men. The 1982 The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affirms the right of every Canadian citizen to vote and to stand as a candidate (Elections Canada, “A Brief History of Federal Voting Rights in Canada”).

References:

Elections Canada, “A Brief History of Federal Voting Rights in Canada”: https://electionsanddemocracy.ca/voting-rights-through-time-0/brief-history-federal-voting-rights-canada

Cape Verde 🖉 edit

Under Chapter II, Rights, Liberties and Guarantees in Political Participation, Article 54 of the Cape Verde Constitution all citizens at least 18 years of age have the right to vote and participate in political life directly and through freely elected representatives (Constitute Project, “Cape Verde's Constitution of 1980 with Amendments through 1992” ).

References:

Cape Verde's Constitution of 1980 with Amendments through 1992: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Cape_Verde_1992

Central African Republic 🖉 edit

Article 18 of the 1994 Constitution reads as follows: "The principle of the Republic is: “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people”. The national sovereignty belongs to the people who exercise it directly by means of referendum or indirectly by their representatives. No faction of the people nor any individual may assume its exercise. The usurpation of the national sovereignty by a coup d’état or by other means constitutes an unmentionable crime against the Central African people. Any person or third party who would accomplish such acts will have declared war on the Central African people. The right to vote is guaranteed to all adult citizens of either sex in possession of their civil and political rights."

References:

Constitution of the Central African Republic, Adopted on 28 December 1994, promulgated on 14 January 1995: https://g7plus.fd.uc.pt/pdfs/CentralAfricanRepublic.pdf

Chad 🖉 edit

Universal suffrage is granted directly or indirectly and is equal and secret for those 18 years of age or older under Title I, Of the State and Of Sovereignty, Article 6 of the Constitution of Chad. Women could legally vote in Chad beginning in 1956.

References:

2018 Chad Constitution: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Chad_2018?lang=en

Ramirez, Francisco O, Yasemin Soysal, and Suzanne Shanahan. “The Changing Logic of Political Citizenship: Cross-National Acquisition of Women’s Suffrage Rights, 1890 to 1990.” American Sociological Review 62.5 (1997): 744.

Chile 🖉 edit

The Constitution of Chile, Chapter II, Nationality and Citizenship, Article 13 grants those Chileans the right to vote "who have reached the age of eighteen years and who have never been sentenced to afflictive punishment.". (Constitute Project, “Chile's Constitution of 1980 with Amendments through 2021” ). Women were legally entitled to vote in Chile beginning in 1949.

References:

1980 Chile Constitution with revisions up to 2021: https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Chile_2021

Ramirez, Francisco O, Yasemin Soysal, and Suzanne Shanahan. “The Changing Logic of Political Citizenship: Cross-National Acquisition of Women’s Suffrage Rights, 1890 to 1990.” American Sociological Review 62.5 (1997): 744.

China 🖉 edit

Under Chapter II, The Fundamental Rights and Duties of Citizens, Article 34 all citizens 18 years of age have the right to vote and stand for election without discrimination. (Constitute Project, “China (People’s Republic of)'s Constitution of 1982 with Amendments through 2018” ).

Colombia 🖉 edit

Under Title III, Chapter II, all citizens 18 years of age have the right to vote in all elections. In addition, an Act may grant Alien’s who reside in Colombia the right to vote in municipal and district level elections. (Constitute Project, “Colombia’s Constitution of 1991 with revisions through 2015” ).

Comoros 🖉 edit

According to Title I, Article 4, suffrage can be indirect or direct and is universal, equal and secret. All Comorians of either sex who are in possession of their civi and political rights may vote as provided for by the statute. (Constitute Project, "Comoros's Constitution of 2001 with Amendments through 2009" ).

Costa Rica 🖉 edit

According to Title VIII, Chapter II, all birthright citizens 18 years or older and naturalized citizens, 12 months or greater after naturalization, have the right to suffrage facilities. (Constitute Project, “Costa Rica’s Constitution of 1949 with revisions through 2020) .

Croatia 🖉 edit

Under Title II, Article 45, all birthright citizens 18 years or older, have access to universal, and equal suffrage through secret and direct ballots to determine the Croatian Parliament, President of the Republic of Croatia, and the European Parliament. (Constitute Project, “Croatia’s Constitution of 1991 with revisions through 2013) .

Cuba 🖉 edit

Article 205 of Cuba’s Constitution states that voting is the right of all Cuban citizens over the age of 16 unless they have been judicially disqualified to vote. Article 104 states that the National Assembly of the People’s Power is made up of representatives elected via direct, free, and secret elections. Additionally, Article 126 states that the President is elected by similar principles. (Constitute Project, “Cuba’s Constitution of 2019) .

Cyprus 🖉 edit

Under Article 63, Part II, all birthright citizens at the age of 18 years or older are eligible to be electors in either the Greek or Turkish electoral list based on their own nationality. Within each list the elector may vote for their respective representative. (Constitute Project, “Cyprus’ Constitution of 1960 with revisions through 2013) .

Czech Republic 🖉 edit

According to Chapter I, Article 56, all citizens at the age of 18 years or older have a right to direct and universal voting. Under Chapter 2, this voting is done by secret ballot and is based on proportional representation. (Constitute Project, “Czech Republic’s Constitution of 1993 with revisions through 2013) .

Democratic Republic of the Congo 🖉 edit

Section II Sovereignty, Article 5 establishes the conditions of organization of the elections and of the referendum. Suffrage is universal, equal, secret and can be direct or indirect. Without prejudice to the provisions of article 70, 102 and 106 all Congolese of both sexes, of 18 years of age, and enjoying their civil and political rights are electors and eligible. (Constitute Project, “Congo (Democratic Republic of the)'s Constitution of 2005 with Amendments through 2011” ).

Denmark 🖉 edit

Under Part 4, all citizens who are permanent residents of Denmark and are at the age of suffrage, which is set by referendum, can vote in Folketing elections. (Constitute Project, “Denmark’s Constitution of 1953) .

Djibouti 🖉 edit

Under Title I, Article V, all Djiboutian nationals of majority have a right to Suffrage regardless of gender. (Constitute Project, “Djibouti’s Constitution of 1992 with revisions through 2010) .

Dominica 🖉 edit

Under Chapter III, Part 1, any resident who is a birthright citizen or naturalized citizen of Dominica and is over the age of 18 has a right to suffrage via a secret and unimposed ballot unless this right has been taken away by Parliament. (Constitute Project, “Dominica’s Constitution of 1978 with revisions through 2014) .

Dominican Republic 🖉 edit

Article 208 in the Dominican Republic’s constitution grants the right of universal, direct, free, and secret suffrage to all citizens over the age of 18, with the exceptions of Members of the Armed Forces and individuals whose rights have been revoked by courts. (Constitute Project, “Dominican Republic’s Constitution of 2015) .

East Timor 🖉 edit

Section 47 of the 2002 Constitution of East Timor sets out the right to vote: "1. Every citizen over the age of seventeen has the right to vote and to be elected. 2. The exercise of the right to vote is personal and constitutes a civic duty."

References:

2002. Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. http://timor-leste.gov.tl/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Constitution_RDTL_ENG.pdf.

Ecuador 🖉 edit

According to Article 35 of the 1897 Ecuador Constitution: "There shall be freedom of suffrage."

Under Article 62 of the Constitution of Ecuador voting is mandatory for those over the age of 18. Voting is optional for those between the ages of 16-18 and elderly persons 65 years of age and older (Constitute Project, “Ecuador's Constitution of 2008” ).

References:

1897 Constitution of Ecuador: English translation of the original Constitution of 1897 1098 (2010) Chapter IV: Of Guarantees https://heinonline-org.proxygw.wrlc.org/HOL/Page?collection=cow&handle=hein.cow/zzec0008&id=4&men_tab=srchresults

2021. “Ecuador 2008 (Rev. 2021) Constitution.” 2021. ConstitutionNet. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Ecuador_2021?lang=en.

Egypt 🖉 edit

According to Article 3 of the 1923 Constitution, "Egyptians shall be equal before the law in enjoying civil and political rights, and in public duties and mandates, with no discrimination among them therein on the grounds of origin, language or religion." Articles 74 and 82 described the choice of members of the House of Representatives and three-fifths of the Senate as "elected by public vote as per the provisions of the electoral law."

Part II, Rights and Freedoms, Article 55 of the Egyptian Constitution grants universal suffrage and compulsory voting for every Egyptian citizen over 18. If one fails to vote, they can receive a fine or even imprisonment, but a significant percentage of eligible voters do not vote (Constitute Project, “Egypt's Constitution of 2012” ).

References:

“Royal Decree No. 42 of 1923” 1923: https://constitutionnet.org/sites/default/files/1923_-_egyptian_constitution_english_1.pdf

https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Egypt_2019?lang=en ... further results

Is the identification of this right associated with a particular era in history, political regime, or political leader? + create

Is there another noteworthy written source from the past that mentions this right? 🖉 edit

Other noteworthy written sources that mention an implicit right to vote in a more modern context include Thomas Rainsborough during the British Putney Debates in 1647, where he stated, “I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put Himself under.” Rainsborough’s speech at the Putney Debates also alluded to a divine right to vote: "I do think the main cause why Almighty God gave men reason, it was that they should make use of that reason…every man born in England cannot, ought not, neither by the law of God nor the law of nature, to be exempted from the choice of those who are to make laws for him to live under." (Rainsborough) In the United States, the 1776 Constitution of Virginia was one of the first written sources to establish a protected right to vote, stating that “all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage.” Federalist 52, written by James Madison, also alludes to the importance of voting rights, stating “the definition of the right of suffrage is very justly regarded as a fundamental article of republican government” (Avalon Project). In both of these cases, however, the right to vote was granted solely to property-owning men, and it would not be until the mid-19th Century that the connection between the right to vote and property ownership would be removed in both Great Britain and the United States. Additionally, perceptions of suffrage as a universal right have come about much more recently, with New Zealand becoming the first country to legally recognize suffrage as a universal right in 1893 under Part One of the Electoral Act, which outlined that “every person of the age of twenty-one years or upwards who has resided for one year in the colony” was eligible to vote.

References:

Calvin, John, and Luther, Martin, and Milton, John, and Lilburne, John, and Overton, Richard, and Ireton, Henry, and Rainborough, Thomas, and Cromwell, Oliver, and John Wildman. Puritanism and Liberty, being the Army Debates (1647-9). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1938.

Federalist No. 52 (https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed52.asp#:~:text=A%20representative%20of%20the%20United,office%20under%20the%20United%20States.)

What specific events or ideas contributed to its identification as a fundamental right? + create

When was it generally accepted as a fundamental, legally-protectable right? 🖉 edit

The right to vote was first accepted as a fundamental and legally-protectable right with the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788, specifically under Article 1. States were given the right to set their own voting requirements (National Archives and Records Administration). The framers of the Constitution claimed to have aimed to promote the common welfare, ensuring their right to liberty. However, states routinely enfranchised only white male property owners. Although President Andrew Jackson expanded the right to all white males more generally, it took years for African Americans, women, and Native Americans to be granted the same right (The Library of Congress).

In 1870, the 15th Amendment was enacted which declared that the right to vote would not be determined on the basis of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” (The Library of Congress). Likewise the 19th Amendment in 1920 gave american women the right to vote. The actual realization of the 15th Amendment did not occur for many years following 1870, for many African Americans continued to face barriers which limited their ability to vote. For instance, the use of literacy tests and poll taxes worked to prevent African Americans from voting (The Library of Congress). The Civil Rights Act of 1870 worked in accordance with the 15th Amendment. The Act sought to enforce criminal penalties against the use of intimidation or threats that aimed to prevent African Americans from voting. The subsequent Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 further expanded the enforcement of such penalties (National Archives and Records Administration). Despite previous legislation, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed by President Lyndon Johnson proved to be the most effective at ensuring minorities the right to suffrage.

Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which “outlawed discrimination of the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,” and the 24th Amendment which made illegal the use of poll taxes, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 changed state and federal relations with regards to voting rights. Historically, discrimination from local state officials sought to disenfranchise African Americans. The Voting Rights Act worked by allowing the federal government to register voters, specifically in many states in the south with a history of harsh discriminatory practices. This meant the discontinuation of literacy tests and also allowed for non-english speakers to more readily become registered to vote. It was later in 1971 when the national voting age was lowered to 18 for all political elections (National Archives and Records Administration).

References:

National Archives and Records Administration. (n.d.). The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription. National Archives and Records Administration. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript#toc-section-4-.

The Founders and the Vote : The Right to Vote : Elections : Classroom Materials at the Library of Congress : Library of Congress. The Library of Congress. (n.d.). https://www.loc.gov/classroom-materials/elections/right-to-vote/the-founders-and-the-vote/.