Suffrage rights should be mandatory in every jurisdiction around the world. One thing that is worth noting is that governments derive their legitimacy from the electorate. Voting is a democratic right that gives power to the elected officials to work for the people. The yielding of the power by the electorate to their elected officials through democratic processes such as voting is known as the social contract (Scher 55). This means that any government that does not make voting rights mandatory is illegitimate. This is because the government is not representative of the entire citizenry which the government rules over.
Many societies around the world, including the United States, have in the past restricted voting rights to some individuals while the rest of the population is denied the right to vote. Using the United States as an example, only the white male was allowed to vote after independence (Ford 416). But it is also worthwhile to note that America was not comprised of only the white male. There were white women, blacks, Hispanics, and other minority groups that were excluded from voting. This means that at the time, the US government was controlled by a group of white men who did not care about the welfare of the rest of society. Therefore, voting rights have to be mandatory if a government is to be considered as being legitimate and all-inclusive of all its citizens. In addition, it is through mandatory voting rights that the will of the minority can also be addressed (Weller & Nobbs 188). This is because the votes of minority groups become essential for candidates who are competing to occupy elective positions.
In conclusion, voting rights should be mandatory if any government or authority is to be considered to be legitimately in power. Through mandatory voting rights all members of the citizenry are involved in the election of their leaders. In this way, the leaders that come to power are reflective of the general will of the people. Finally, voting rights should be mandatory so that minority groups can also have an influence in election of leaders and influencing of policy.
Ford, Lacy K. Deliver us from evil: The Slavery Question in the Old South. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Scher, Richard K. The politics of disenfranchisement: why is it so hard to vote in America? Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2011. Print.
Weller, M., and Katherine Nobbs. Political participation of minorities: a commentary on international standards and practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.