• Martha E. Kropf
Part of the Elections, Voting, Technology book series (EVT)


In the United States today, if one asked the person on the street what the central meaning of citizenship is, many might respond it is the right to vote. This is a concept that starts rather early in our life—look, for example, at the US government website about the basics of government for various ages of children. “Ben’s [Franklin’s] Guide to U.S. Government for Kids” explains that many different people live in the United States, but that those who are not “citizens” “have some of the same freedoms and legal rights as U.S. citizens, but they cannot vote in elections.”1 Yet, there are still cases of citizens who want to vote, but whom the laws seem to have left behind. A man named Stephen L. wrote in a court brief:

My name is Stephen. I am 20 years old. I am an American citizen. I also have a disability. Earlier this year, I was at risk of losing the right to vote. Just because I have a disability. With help from Dr. Nora Baladerian and attorney Tom Coleman, I was able to keep the right to vote. But other people with disabilities were not so lucky. They had their right to vote taken away by judges in the Los Angeles Superior Court. I hope that Attorney General Eric Holder makes the judges give the right to vote back to these Americans. Mr. Holder, if you read or learn about my statement, I am asking you to please help people with disabilities keep our right to vote. We want to participate in our democracy, not be excluded.2


Political Scientist Election Administration Limited English Proficiency Voter Turnout Informal Rule 
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  1. 6.
    See, for example, Raskin, Jamin. 2004. “A Right-to-Vote Amendment for the U.S. Constitution: Confronting America’s Structural Democracy Deficit.” Election Law Journal 3(3): 559–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 11.
    Pildes, Richard H. 2007. “What Kind of Right Is the ‘Right to Vote’?” Virginia Law Review (April 23): 43–50.Google Scholar

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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martha E. Kropf
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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