Reps Pocan, Ellison introduce Right-to-Vote Amendment

Pull out your copy of the US Constitution and look for the right to vote. You won't find it. Our founding fathers neglected to mention it until America decided on some reasons it couldn't be abridged: race, color, or previous condition of servitude and later gender, failure to pay taxes, and being under the age of 21.

Sadly, the fact that our Constitution many times mentions the right to vote--but never gets around to explicitly saying there is one--has allowed some hyper-partisans the opportunity to try to limit it. Mark Pocan and Keith Ellison have introduced an amendment to change this. It says:

SECTION 1: Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides.

SECTION 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.

In America's current whack-o hyper-partisan culture, this is sure to be controversial. My guesses are that--if it gets any attention at all--it will provoke a debate over the disenfranchisement of felons. This amendment would seem to prevent a state from abridging a felon's right to vote at any time--even while serving a sentence. In my book, that's a good thing, but I'm sure it will be a lightning rod.

Second, Section 2 (giving Congress the power to enforce )will be used to try to sink it on the same grounds that reactionaries sank the Equal Rights Amendment.

But it's certainly worth a try, and I'm going to get behind it.


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