"No taxation without representation." The iconic, revolution-provoking battle cry that every eighth grader in America was at one point forced to ingrain into their psyche at the hands of a neon flash card. Arguably the first principle of law that our country ever unofficially established for itself, the phrase brings to mind nothing short of an image of a proud George Washington standing upon the bodies of fallen redcoats Captain Morgan-style, like something from a beautifully nerdy Old Spice ad. One could argue that without this one little sentence fragment there may not even be a United States of America at all.

Now, I understand the temptation to launch into a moral brawl over the merits of #Voting Rights laws at the very mention of them, but that is a debate for another day.

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This is simply a question of colonial hypocrisy. The haunting legacy of "no taxation without representation" looms overhead like a nerd-summoning bat signal in the Gotham City night sky, and I couldn’t help but feel the need to answer the call.

Who can't vote, who pays taxes, and how many people that actually is

By cross-referencing each state's voting rights laws and the statistics surrounding those who would be impacted by them, I found that an estimated total of 27 million voting-age United States residents would have been banned from participating in Election Day last November due to either their criminal history or their citizenship status. To provide a frame of reference for what a powerful chunk of the population that is, that would be far more than enough ballots to reverse the popular vote results in all of the presidential elections to have taken place in this century combined.

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Of those 27 million residents, how many of them are actually exempt from sending their income to a government that seems to adamantly reject their input? The answer might make a founding father roll over in his grave. Every single person who has lost their voting rights due to their criminal history is on the hook for filing taxes every year. That group makes for around 6.1 million citizens, and includes convicts who have served the entirety of their sentences, those on probation or parole, and even those who are currently imprisoned. The only possible way an incarcerated #Citizen would be released from tax obligations would be if they were physically unable to work, which all prisoners are required to do.

Non-citizens can't vote, but pay taxes too (just like convicts)

All non-citizens are legally obligated to pay at least some form of taxes too, and the vast majority have no unique exemptions whatsoever. Green card holders are held to the same taxation standards as citizens, as is any non-citizen without a green card who spent more than 183 days of the last year in the United States.

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Those who spent less than that amount of time in the country are only taxed on the money they made while here, making them only tiny sliver of all 27 million disenfranchised residents with any form of an accommodating tax break, and it still isn't very generous. Moral of the story: the idea that it isn't fair for a government to demand pay from residents without giving them a voice in the system was totally cute when we were the ones pettily hurling tea into the ocean, but we're like... so over it now.

You may think that the exclusion of non-citizen voting is a smart protection, and you may believe that a loss of such rights for criminals is all part of the punishment, and those would certainly be legitimate points to be heard. That is an answer to a different question, however. No matter what your voting rights stance is, one undeniable truth we can all observe is that demanding their money while simultaneously rejecting their vote contradicts the very mantra that started the revolution, and subsequently, the history of the United States of America. No taxation without representation? For a nation built on principles, we really seem to be forgetful of the one that built us.