Vote Dissociation

127 Yale L.J. F. 761 (2018)

Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 424

18 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2017 Last revised: 10 Dec 2019

See all articles by Daniel P. Tokaji

Daniel P. Tokaji

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: Feb 8, 2018


The most recent presidential election highlighted deep seated problems in American democracy that existing voting rights law cannot fix. This Essay employs the term “vote dissociation” to refer to a species of voting rights injury that is qualitatively different from both vote denial and vote dilution. A growing body of social science research documents the severance of the vote from its central function of ensuring that all members of our political community are accorded equal concern by elected officials. At the core of vote dissociation is the manner in which concentrated wealth translates into political power, with the concomitant effects of disconnecting less affluent voters from policymaking and exacerbating political polarization. Combatting vote dissociation requires that we understand the diminished political influence of less affluent voters as an injury to the constitutional right to vote.

Keywords: right to vote, voting rights, election law, campaign finance, gerrymandering, polarization, economic inequality

Suggested Citation

Tokaji, Daniel P., Vote Dissociation (Feb 8, 2018). 127 Yale L.J. F. 761 (2018), Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 424, Available at SSRN: or

Daniel P. Tokaji (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

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