The Temporal Dimension of Voting Rights

Volume 93

93 Va. L. Rev. Online 41
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Modern voting rights scholarship agrees on one thing: voting rights are aggregate rights. The right to vote is important, of course, for a variety of individualistic reasons. It may be constitutive of citizenship, central to the inculcation of civic virtue, and so on. But contemporary scholarship begins with the premise that the right to vote is meaningful in large part because it affords groups of persons the opportunity to join their voices to exert force on the political process. On this account, the fairness of a legal rule affecting voting rights cannot be determined by focusing solely on an individual voter; a resolutely individualistic focus makes it impossible to determine how the rule affects the ability of groups of voters to exercise political influence.

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