What exactly does the Constitution say about who gets to vote? Not much. “The people” choose congressmen. States are in charge of elections and Congress can overrule them. And electors, not voters, choose the President.
That system did not last long.
There are not one or two but SEVEN constitutional amendments that deal directly with who gets to vote and how. And a lot of laws have been passed since then, too.
The voting amendments
The 12th Amendment, passed in 1803, set out more specific rules for electors in presidential elections.
Basically it took almost 200 years to get from “the people” to a system that includes citizen men, women and black voters 18 or older.
More recent debates about suffrage have been over voter suppression — laws or practices that make it harder for people to vote — and voter fraud.
Ready for some more rules?
Donald Trump has, without evidence, spread the conspiracy theory that undocumented immigrants illegally voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The catch-22 for Puerto Ricans
All of this means that our definition of “the people” is different depending on where you live. And this democracy keeps changing.