Right/Voting Rights and Suffrage/Legal Codification

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Voting Rights and Suffrage

Is this right enshrined in international and regional human rights treaties? + create

Is it contained in the US Constitution? + create

Has it been interpreted as being implicit in the US Constitution? + create

Are there any exceptions in American law to this right? + create

Is this right protected in the Constitutions of most countries today? 🖉 edit

The right to vote has developed into an international norm over the past several decades, one often made an element of national constitutions. The widespread suffrage we see today was achieved through the struggle of advocates for democracy around the globe. Other political forces, beyond national constitutions, have also guided the global development of voting rights, to some degree. International and regional conventions on human, civic, and political rights further encourage states to protect their citizens’ right to vote. Examples include The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Organization of American States (OAS), to name just a few. (Kirshner, 2003) Though ambitious, such conventions are rarely legally binding, thus lacking enforcement. Furthermore, they present a general framework that allows national governments to find and exploit loopholes based on their own interests, should they desire to do so.

A government’s motivation plays a key role in how it implements voting rights. While we typically think of suffrage as a way of empowering citizens, it functions just as easily as a tool of legitimation to counter both domestic and international criticism. The latter function is common in “anocratic” states that blend democracy with authoritarianism, and can use voting rights as an attempt to gain clout and legitimacy in the global arena. (Global Citizen)


Global Citizen. “What Democracy and Voting Rights Look Like Around the World.” n.d. Global Citizen. Accessed June 9, 2021. https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/its-2016-here-is-the-state-of-voting-rights-around/.

Kirshner, Alexander. 2003. “The International Status of the Right to Vote.” Democracy Coalition Project.