I have respect to all the disabled people. The purpose of this question is to understand who is qualified to vote in a Democratic system. I hope nobody gets me wrong.

We know democracy allows all people to have a voice in their community. But, it has some drawbacks. For instance, a professor in Department of political science in University of Harvard, has one vote, and a illiterate person also has the same number of vote.

So, it means that Democracy allows even illiterate people to talk. But, what if the person is not able to think, or do the minimum daily stuff without the assistance of others.

Do they also have a vote in society?

Lets say we are talking about over 18 year old disabled people.

  • 1
    There is no such thing a "Democracy". There are specific countries, with varied specific laws, that can be considered closer or further from "Democratic". Almost none of them has 100% universal franchise, either.
    – user4012
    Jul 3 '18 at 19:15
  • Are you asking for a philosophic argument or what the law allows? If you want to know what the law allows, you should specify which laws. Jul 3 '18 at 19:37
  • 3
    These kinds of philosophic questions are allowed on the site (we have a tag for it, "political theory"). But usually they do better when you clearly specify that you are interested in the works of notable philosophers or theorists, or if you specify a specific theory you are interested in. Jul 3 '18 at 21:10
  • 3
    Why close this question? It is basically the legitimate question which boundaries democracies have to set for voting. Since most democracies allow disabled persons to vote, there should be (and is) a rationale why the question of intelligence is not decisive for the right to vote.
    – Thern
    Jul 4 '18 at 7:49
  • 5
    Questions about "should" or "should not" are definitely "primarily opinion-based", and aren't allowed on this site. Jul 4 '18 at 11:35

The problem with drawing any sort of line as to who can vote and who can't is categorization. Who gets to draw the line? Who gets to determine whether you're on one side of it or the other?

This is the same problem as with restricting gun ownership for mental health reasons - unlike with felons (who were tried and convicted with all due process), there's no clear way to say "You are competent enough to vote. You, however, aren't." There's also often no way to challenge a decision like that either.

That said, it's important to note that everyone is entitled to one vote. If someone isn't able to cast that vote themselves, their caretaker can't cast it for them. The caretaker is likely allowed to fill out an absentee ballot at the patient's direction (various state laws may apply here), but they can't just say "Oh, this patient would want to vote for so-and-so." So if someone unable to issue that direction, then as a matter of practicality, they can't vote.

It's also worth noting that all of this also applies to anyone who is unable to vote for medical reasons. If you're in a coma (induced or natural), you're unable to cast a vote, and no one can do so on your behalf. If you wake up on election day, you're still entitled to your vote - if you wake up the next day, you're not.

  • 1
    Actually there is a way to do a meaningful categorization. In quite a few countries people can be adjudicated mentally incompetent, which includes the ability to care for themselves etc. However the issue of barring such people from voting is mostly moot since the vast majority will not try to exercise their voting rights anyway. Of course drafting a much wider exclusion (such as simply based o a diagnosis of mental illness) is highly problematic... why not do the same based on IQ etc. I think the stats were that 1/3 of Americans were given a mental illness diagnosis at some point in their lif
    – Fizz
    Jul 4 '18 at 10:10
  • WHO says that mentail disorder affects 1 in 4 people: who.int/whr/2001/media_centre/press_release/en FYI: there's US federal legislation prohibiting some mentally ill from posessing firearms: eu.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/16/…
    – Fizz
    Jul 4 '18 at 10:12

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