Democrats Propose Constitutional Amendment to Recognize Voting As A Fundamental Right




It’s remarkable that our right to vote is vulnerable to the whims of lawmakers looking for new ways to rig elections in their favor.  There is nothing in our constitution that specifically guarantees our right to vote.

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama said this about voting rights.

 We may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred; that it’s being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th anniversary of the great march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we can come together, Democrats and Republicans, to make voting easier for every single American,

On Thursday, U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) hope to change all that with their proposed constitutional amendment to guarantee every American’s right to vote.  This isn’t the first time Representatives Pocan and Ellison have tried to make the vote a constitutionally protected right. They proposed a similar constitutional amendment in 2013.

Rep. Pocan notes on his website:

 I believe a country built on the foundation of civic participation should never tolerate any politically-motivated threats to our ability to express our views at the polls. That is why I introduced legislation, the Pocan Ellison Right to Vote Amendment, which would explicitly guarantee the right to vote in the Constitution, provide all Americans the affirmative right to vote, and empower Congress to protect this right.  A voting rights amendment would positively affirm our founding principle that our country is at its strongest when everyone participates.

This follows years of vote suppression in Republican controlled states and the 2013 the Supreme Court ruling that put the Voting Rights Act on life support. In that ruling, the Supreme Court called on Congress to update the preclearance formula in the VRA.  Congressional Republicans resisted efforts to update the preclearance based on the illusion that the VRA has out lived its usefulness.  Thirty-one states introduced or passed over 190 vote suppression laws  some of which have been upheld by the Roberts Supreme Court based on a ruling by a Federal Court Judge who has since admitted, he got it wrong  in that ruling.

The proposal that recognizes the vote of all Americans who are of legal voting age as a “fundamental right” presents a challenge to Republicans who have resisted efforts to revive the voting rights act and other efforts to making voting easier and more accessible to American citizens. If history is an indicator, Republicans will say one thing than do the polar opposite.  It’s their m.o. be it on voting rights, opportunities for working Americans or anything else they’ve approached.

Instead of working with Democrats on actual job creation, Republicans are trying to sell the Keystone Pipeline as a jobs bill or an infrastructure bill or whatever magical phrase will garner support for the ultimate wet kiss to big oil. While the latest version of the real Mitt Romney talks about his new found concern about income inequality and Jonie Ernst gives bread bag speeches, Republicans continue to push tax cuts for the rich and increase taxes on middle and lower income Americans, a policy certain to further increase the income inequality they say they’re concerned about.

Don’t be surprised if Republicans talk about their commitment to protecting your voting rights while simultaneously voting against the Pocan-Ellison proposal and any measure that would revive the Voting Rights Act.  It’s the scorpion/frog story all over again.

Image: PR Watch

10 Replies to “Democrats Propose Constitutional Amendment to Recognize Voting As A Fundamental Right”

  1. I hope this bill goes through, it is long overdue.
    If someone is not allowed to vote then they should not have to pay taxes, they should not have to serve in the military.

  2. It is so sad that we have to step back at least 40 years, once again, to try to bring the Reichwing into the 21st century (let lone, the 17th century).

  3. unfortunately a Constitutional Amendment isn’t the same as a Bill…

    it requires passage in both Houses and THEN 3/4 of the state legislatures have to approve it…

    how many red states. that are already doing voter suppression, do you suppose will go along?

    Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas and on and on…

    ‘The road goes on forever and the party never ends’ Robert Earl Keen….

  4. This is how the system works. SCOTUS says the law as written says X,Y,Z. Congress then enacts legislation to make new laws that correct constitutional irregularities. Not create ‘yobs.’ The whole ‘write unconstitutional laws and sue like hell’ system of government is decadent and perverse.
    Write laws correctly the first time and move on to other things.
    Or the Executive Branch will work around you.

  5. No way , Jose. The Kochs didn’t spend billions over the past forty years buying Capitol Hill to have a fair election come along and screw it all up

  6. You forgot to finish with ” ~ Community of Dictators around the world”. You know, because dictators loathe fair and free elections and consider a free people “terrorists”, as do the Koch Bros Party, formerly known as The Republican Party.

  7. A group of republican presidential candidates except for Jeb Bush are meeting in Iowa to do a little of Gerimandering;Huckabee,Christy,Walker,Paul Dr C,Rubio,Cruz,,Perry,.
    Now this is scary,

  8. Boehner and McConnell will never let the bill come up for a vote. They won’t even mention the fact that the bill exists because it might get people talking about fairness in elections. They’d then have to fall back on rigging the voting machines.

  9. Boner and the turtle will be on “60 Minutes” this coming Sunday. Pelley just showed a clip where they said that any tax increases are “dead”, as are community college for free, raising minimum wage, and they are not sure yet about increasing the Earned Income rate. So, just on those, we should watch and act any way we can. Turtle said “Of course we can all work together. Just because we say no on some things doesn’t mean we can’t agree on others”. Sure, just like the past 6 years. All I could think was they are just scum…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.