It is commonplace in contemporary political philosophy to argue that people’s equal moral standing grounds their entitlements to equal citizenship. But many philosophers deny that equal moral standing has anything to do with our right to have equal suffrage. In this paper, I will defend the idea that equal moral standing provides moral grounds to equal suffrage, by refuting several representative challenges to it. By meeting Ronald Dworkin’s and David Estlund’s challenges, I argue that theories of egalitarian distributive justice cannot consistently endorse both equal vote and an ideal of moral equality that applies exclusively to distributive equality, but has nothing to do with equal vote. Thus, the positions taken on the issue of equal vote, I will show, indeed have important consequences for the structure of theories of egalitarian distributive justice. Then, by refuting Steven Wall’s argument for a plural voting system, I will argue that the importance of people’s interest in being equal authors of a polity is constitutive to our understanding of equal citizenship. I will argue that this shows the implausibility of any theory of egalitarian distributive justice that opts for a principled rejection of equal vote. I conclude that equal moral standing indeed provides an important moral ground for regulating the voting system. To the extent that a theory of egalitarian distributive justice has to be grounded on the idea of equal moral standing, which seems to be true for most such theories, it follows that, contrary to many theorists, justice indeed needs equal vote.
■ Equal Vote ■ Plural Voting ■ Moral Equality ■ Egalitarian Justice ■ Democracy
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