Right To Vote: In any democracy, the right to vote is a fundamental right. It is the foundation of our democracy because it gives the people a say in who will rule them and how they will be ruled. Voting guarantees that all citizens’ views are heard and that their interests are reflected in the government, making it both a right and a responsibility.
The freedom to vote is a fundamental human right, not merely a privilege. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) both provide protection for it. National constitutions in many nations also provide the right to vote.
Right to Vote in India
The right to vote in the Constitution of India is guaranteed under Article 326. According to this article, “elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of every State shall be on the basis of adult suffrage; that is, every person who is a citizen of India and who is not less than 18 years of age on such date as may be fixed in that behalf by or under any law made by the appropriate Legislature and is not otherwise disqualified under this Constitution or any law made by the appropriate Legislature on the ground of nominating a candidate for office on any other ground.
Right to Vote in the United States Constitution
The US Constitution does not specifically address the right to vote. The Elections Clause, which gives Congress the authority to “create or change” laws connected to the “Manner” of holding federal elections, does, however, establish the framework for the federal government to regulate the voting process. Additionally, discrimination in voting on the basis of race or color is prohibited by the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, which were passed in the years following the Civil War (1861–1865). Voting discrimination based on sex is prohibited under the 19th Amendment, which was passed in 1920. For people who are 18 years of age or older, the 26th amendment, which was approved in 1971, outlaws discrimination in voting on the basis of age.
History of Voting Rights in Different Countries
A key component of democracy is the ability to vote, and the history of voting rights differs widely between nations. The history of voting rights is extensive and complex. Voting rights were typically reserved for adult male citizens in ancient Greece. Slaves, women, and non-citizens were not regarded as citizens and were therefore not allowed to vote. Voting procedures varied in each city-state, but in most cases, participants cast a small stone or disc into a designated container or showed their hands.
Athens: The most well-known ancient Greek city-state, Athens, used a method of voting called sortition in which residents were chosen at random to serve as officials and to vote on laws. The rich class of residents was the only one who could use this method.
United States: Initially, only white, male property owners in the United States had the right to vote. The ability to vote has been extended over time to more demographic groups, including minorities and women. Black men were not given the right to vote until the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870. However, voting discrimination against minorities was not actually outlawed until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. However, it wasn’t until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 that women were given the right to vote.
United Kingdom: The ability to vote has increasingly increased in the United Kingdom. The Great Reform Act of 1832 gave more males the ability to vote, but it wasn’t until 1918 that all men over the age of 21 received this privilege. In 1928, the voting age for women was lowered to coincide with that for males after they were granted the right to vote at the age of 30 in 1918.
France: Initially, only men who owned property were eligible to vote in France. All men over 21 were not given the right to vote until the Second Republic was established in 1848. The right to vote for women was not established until 1944.
India: All Indian citizens above the age of 21 now have the right to vote thanks to the 1950 Indian Constitution. However, the Indian National Congress had been battling for Indians’ right to vote before that, going back to the early 1900s. Long-standing political mobilisation and opposition actions in India eventually resulted in the country’s independence in 1947 and the establishment of universal voting rights.
The right to vote has been a hard-won right for many citizens around the world, and the history of voting rights is often closely tied to the broader struggle for political and social equality. Today, many countries continue to work towards expanding voting rights and ensuring that all citizens have an equal say in the political process.
Despite these advances, the right to vote is still not universally guaranteed. Many countries around the world still deny certain groups of people the right to vote, either through laws or through discrimination and intimidation. This is unacceptable, and efforts must be made to ensure that all citizens have the right to vote and that their votes are counted fairly.
National Voters Day
The 13th National Voters’ Day will be observed by the Indian Election Commission on January 25, 2023.
Smt. Droupadi Murmu, the Honourable President of India, is the chief guest at a nationwide event that the Indian Election Commission is hosting in New Delhi. As the event’s Guest of Honor, Shri Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister for Law and Justice, will be present.
Nothing Like Voting, I Vote for Sure is the topic for this year’s National Voter Day, which expresses people’s feelings and aspirations regarding electoral engagement through the power of their vote.
Ensuring the Right to Vote
One way to ensure that all citizens have the right to vote is to make voting as accessible as possible.
- This includes measures such as automatic voter registration, early voting, and mail-in voting.
- It also includes measures to make voting accessible to people with disabilities, such as accessible polling places and voting equipment.
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