Right to vote
The right of Vote is one of the Civic right basic in a Démocratie. It makes it possible the Citoyen S of a State to express their will, by the means of a Scrutin, and thus to elect their representatives and their controlling or to answer the question raised by a Plébiscite or a Référendum.
The Athenian democracy
See also: Athenian Democracy
The first political regime which can pride itself on the name of democracy was born undoubtedly in the quoted from Athens during the Antiquité. The vote however was not immediately retained like mode of nomination of the political officials, one preferred initially drawing lots to him, one speaks then about Stochocratie. It is necessary to await the reforms of Périclès in the middle of the O C to see the appearance of the right to vote. This right is then granted only to the citizens, i.e. to the men born of Athenian father and of a mother, girl of citizen. Slaves and women regarded respectively as goods and the eternal minor ones, as well as the Métèque S (foreigners) are excluded from the political community, as in the majority of the Greek cities. One can estimate that there were 40.000 voters for 250.000 inhabitants.
IcelandFrom 920 to 1800, the Iceland was controlled by the Althing, a general meeting gathering the free men landowners of all the regions of Iceland, which exerted the Legislative power and legal.
Faroe IslandsAlthing of comparable nature seems to be set up before at the Faroe Islands, it was removed only in 1275, at the time of the annexation of the archipelago by Norway.
SwedenFrom 1719, the Parliament Swedish (Riksdag) is elected by the vote for all, however only the owners of land goods have the right to vote. This episode (1718-1772) of democratic parliamentarism is known under the name of Ère of Freedom.
City-states of the Italian Rebirth
The Republic of San MarinoYear 1000 at the end of XVIème century, the Republic of San Marino knew a system of limited Direct democracy, with an assembly of the household heads called Arengo, which exerted the legislative power. However, as of XIIIème century, three more permanent institutions elected by Arengo were founded, the captain-regents (Heads of the State), the Council of the XII (body legal and administrative) and the Council of the LX (legislative body, also called Consiglio Grande E Generale ), which supplanted Arengo of 1571 to 1906. The meeting of restores an elective mode, with right to vote limited to the household heads and the graduates. From 1571 to 1906, the Council of the LX, previously elected by Arengo, was renewed by co-optation, becoming a Oligarchie, and was composed of 20 members of each kind (noble, town and rural). The right to vote was extended to the women only in 1964, and eligibility in 1973.
The Republic of VeniceIn the Republic of Venice, a popular assembly, the Arengo , elected the doge. Arengo was replaced in 1172 by the Great Council ( Maggior Consiglio ) composed of the family members registered with the Patriarchate. All the men of more than 25 years could take part in it, in condition of however not having married of commoner. The Venetian aristocracy was composed especially of ship-owners, traders and bankers, whose incomes were based more on the trade than on the ground. By the Serrata del Consiglio in 1297, the access to the Great Council was restricted with those whose ancestors had been members.
Free cities of the Germanic Empire
Swiss cantonsBefore the Swiss Constitution of 1798, which abolishes the vote censitaire, the Swiss cantons knew various political systems, some based on a Direct democracy (in particular the Landsgemeinde and the ten-line stanzas in the Canton of Were worth), others on the Oligarchie and the co-optation. From XVIème century, the right of middle-class (limited to the urban landowners) becomes increasingly hereditary, excluding the simple inhabitants or residents.
Restrictions on the right to voteIn general, the electoral system passed from the absence of vote to a male vote censitaire which gradually widened by decreasing the amount of the level of imposition, then by removing this condition, and then by extending the right to vote with the women, then with certain ethnic minorities (racial or religious especially) which had remained excluded about it: Asian, Amerindian Doukhobors and with the Indigenous Canada, in Australia, " indigènes" in the French and Belgian colonies.
exclusion on the basis of fortune
See also: Vote censitaire
exclusion on the basis of instruction
See also: Vote capacitaire
In the system of Vote capacitaire, the right to vote was granted in recognition of a certain educational level , checked by the requirement of suitable diplomas or an examination of knowledge, or the performance of certain duties.
exclusion on the basis of religionIn the United Kingdom, only the Anglicans had the right to vote (Test Act), which was gradually extended to the dissenting Protestants in 1828 ( nonconformists , i.e. Méthodistes and Presbytériens), then with the catholics in 1829 ( Roman Catholic Relief Act ) and with the Jews in 1858 ( Jewish Disabilities Removal Act ). Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), qualified in its official biographical chronology of " only Prime Minister juif" , had been able to start a political career while becoming appointed into 1837 only because it had been converted with the Anglicanism at the 12 years age.
In the same way, several states of the United States, from which the first were at the beginning of the British colonies, gradually extended the right to vote with the not-Christians to XVIIIème and the XIXème century.
Thus, with the Maryland, the catholics were excluded from the right to vote and of eligibility of 1718 to 1776, date on which the Quakers, which profited already from the right to vote, are transfered to recognize the right to eligibility. It is only on February 26th, 1825 that the right to vote and of eligibility was extended there to the Jews.
Until 1957, the Canadian province of Colombia-British did not grant the right of vote to the Doukhobors, conscientious objectors like the Mennonites and the Huttérites (a variety of anabaptists), that if they had been useful in time of war, which returned concretely to excluding some. It is only in 1960, with a first application to the federal elections of 1963, that the restrictions on the right to vote and of eligibility based on the " race" or the religion were raised to Canada (see Right to vote in Canada).
exclusion on the basis of kind
See also: Vote of the women
The first territories to have recognized the right of Vote of the women are: the Islands Pitcairn in 1838, the Island of Man in 1866 and the Wyoming in 1869. In 1918, in Great Britain, the men were to be 21 years old and women 31. The soldiers could not vote until in 1946 (one feared the influence of their superiors on them). To Portugal, 1931, the right to vote is granted to the graduate women of higher education, the men them, must only know to read and write.
exclusion on the basis of ageThe lowering of the age of vote (still in debate to pass from 18 to 16 years in certain political entities) and of eligibility also widened the number of voters. The active right to vote (eligibility) remains however often higher than the passive right to vote (" right of vote".
exclusion on the basis of mode of acquisition of nationalityIn certain countries, the naturalized foreigners cannot exert the right to vote, and/or of eligibility, that after a certain number of years.
Article 5 of the Belgian Constitution of 1831 laid down the distinction between " naturalization ordinaire" and " large naturalization". It was necessary to have received great naturalization to be eligible with the Room of the representatives or the Senate, to become minister or to take share with the parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, as explains it the Delcour lawyer, " it is enough to have obtained ordinary naturalization to become voter in the commune ". It is only in 1976, that is to say nearly one century and half later, that naturalized the " ordinaires" and the people having acquired nationality by marriage also transfer themselves to recognize the right to vote, but not of eligibility, with all the elections. The distinction between ordinary naturalization and great naturalization was removed Constitution only in 1991 (Belgian Moniteur 2/15/1991).
In France, there was a time after the acquisition of nationality by naturalization or marriage during which the person did not have the right to vote and of eligibility, and the access to certain employment, ten years according to the law of 1889, five years later. Thus, in 1938, one adds to prohibition for naturalized to be elected, prohibition to be entitled to vote during five years. This time, as well as other discriminations towards naturalized, were abolished in 1973 (law of January 9th, 1973) and 1983.
With the Morocco, only are voters naturalized after a 5 years deadline, which probably constitutes a legal heritage of French colonization.
In Guinea, another state in the past colonized by France, the electoral code of 1991 provided that " the naturalized foreigners are eligible only with the expiry of a ten years deadline as from the date of the decree of naturalization, provided they reside in Guinea since this date ". However, in 1998 this duration was brought back to 5 years: " the foreigner having acquired Guinean nationality cannot be entitled to vote, consequently cannot be registered on the electoral roll during a five (5) years deadline starting from the Decree for exceptional services rendered to the State (Articles 90 and 91 of the civil code) "
exclusion on the basis of nationality
See also: Right to vote from abroad
exclusion on the basis of legal judgmentIn the United States and in Australia, with differences depending on the states, the condemned people, that they are in prison or not, are struck of prohibition of vote. It is for example the case of 13% of the black men in the United States. In other countries, like Canada and Belgium, the prisoners have the right to vote on the other hand, but certain judgments are supplied with deprivation of this one, including after the coming out of prison.
in the colonial contextThe republican France could put up under the Third Republic to political exclusion with the " indigenous " of its colonial empire, which could reach the theoretically full and whole Citoyenneté only the May 7th 1946, following the vote of a private bill of the Senegalese deputy Lamine Guèye, become Loi Rolls Guèye. The Constitution of October 27th, 1946 (known as Constitution of the Fourth Republic) confirmed this French version of the edict of Caracalla.
However, they are only ten years later, the June 23rd 1956, that the Loi-cadre of the minister Gaston Defferre concretized this citizenship equalizes between " indigènes" and " Européens" by removing the system of the " double collège" and by widening the electorate with all the inhabitants of French nationality, without limitation capacitaire.
The Belgium granted the right to vote on its colonial subjects of the Congo only as from December 1957 at the time of elections of councils of districts in certain cities, with " communes; européennes" and of the " communes; africaines" , then of provincial elections.
The the United Kingdom initially set up in its colonies of the assemblies only elected for the colonists, and then gradually introduced representatives, initially named then elected, non-European natives and residents (Indian of the Kenya for example). It is also the model followed by the Netherlands in the the Indies Dutchwomen.
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