Voting as Exclusion

By Ava Ayers

This Essay considers two prevalent narratives about voting. In one narrative, voting expresses the civic virtue of the voter. In another, voting is an expression of inclusion in our political community’s circle of membership. I argue that although both narratives are true, and important, there is a third narrative that shadows them both. In this third narrative, voting affirms the exclusion of millions of people from our political community. The stories we tell about voting are incomplete and, sometimes, harmful.