Justice, Symmetry, and Voting Rights Ceilings

Theoria 87 (3):643-658 (2021)
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Abstract

In this article I aim to offer a first critical assessment of the most prominent arguments in favour of restricting the voting rights of senior citizens. The first argument discussed, most thoroughly articulated by van Parijs, maintains that intergenerational justice would be improved under schemes which restrict the voting rights of senior citizens, thereby diminishing their overall electoral weight. The second argument, reconstructed from Lau's defence of child enfranchisement, maintains that the cognitive decline associated with the process of aging should lead us to treat children and senior citizens identically in respect to electoral rights; thus, if we agree that children should not have the right to vote, consistency dictates that senior citizens should be disenfranchised as well. I respond to these arguments with several objections, arguing that the former relies on a number of faulty empirical premises and has deeply unattractive implications for enfranchisement once consistently applied, and that the latter fails to make empirically salient distinctions between children and senior citizens when it comes to the political domain.

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Alexandru Volacu
Bucharest Center for Political Theory

Citations of this work

Too old to vote? A democratic analysis of age-weighted voting.Andrei Poama & Alexandru Volacu - 2023 - European Journal of Political Theory 22 (4):565-586.

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References found in this work

What’s Ideal About Ideal Theory?Zofia Stemplowska - 2008 - Social Theory and Practice 34 (3):319-340.
Enfranchising the Youth.Lachlan Montgomery Umbers - 2020 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 23 (6):732-755.
Enfranchising the Youth.Lachlan Montgomery Umbers - 2018 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 23 (6):1-24.

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