Meanings of disenfranchisement

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sun Nov 14 2004 - 14:24:10 CST

Robert Rapplean <robert@rapplean.net> wrote:
|In the past few elections, they've even extended "disenfranchised" to
|mean those people whose vote wouldn't matter even if they were to go
|cast it.

Actually, this use goes back quite a way. Part of the purpose of the
1965 Voting Rights Act was to counteract minority voter
disenfrachisement that resulted from gerrymandered districts or other
schemes that effectively gave minority voters less weight than their
numbers should carry. For example, sometimes city councils, school
boards, or other bodies are by districts, but districts are of notably
unequal population (with the disenfranchised group mostly living in one
large district, and thereby proportially underrepresented).

FWIW, the Roman Comitia Centuriata, and the "plebiscite" were early
examples of this particular style of disenfranchisement (quite
deliberately set up for that purpose). That goes back a wee bit farther
than, say, the Reagan administration.

Yours, David...
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Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:31 2004

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