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The issue of voting rights in the United States has been contentious throughout the country’s history. Eligibility to vote in the U.S. is determined by both Federal and state law. Currently, only citizens can vote in U.S. elections (although this has not always been the case). Who is (or who can become) a citizen is governed on a national basis by Federal law. Absent of federal law or constitutional amendment, each State is given considerable discretion to establish qualifications for suffrage and candidacy within its own jurisdiction.

Remember to Vote

Client:

IBM Interactive Media

Media:

Print, Promotional

Year:

2010


Remember to Vote

The “right to vote” is explicitly stated in the U.S. Constitution in the above referenced Amendments, but only in reference to the fact that the franchise cannot be denied or abridged based solely on the aforementioned qualifications. In other words, the “right to vote” is perhaps better understood, in layman’s terms, as only prohibiting certain forms of legal discrimination in establishing qualifications for suffrage. The “right to vote” may or may not be denied for other reasons.

Many States require eligible citizens to register to vote a set number of days prior to the election in order to vote. More controversial restrictions include those laws that prohibit convicted felons from voting or, as seen in Bush v. Gore, disputes as to what rules should apply in counting or recounting ballots.

A state may choose to fill an office by means other than an election. For example, upon death or resignation of a legislator, the state may allow the affiliated political party to choose a replacement to hold office until the next scheduled election. Such an appointment is often affirmed by the governor.



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