Put the Right to Vote into the Constitution
Do You Have a Right to Vote?
More than 1.6 million ballots cast in the U.S. presidential election of 2000 have never been counted! That is an outrage for any nation, but it is completely unacceptable for a nation that claims to be a democracy.
After the halted election and the vote fraud scandals of 2000, surprisingly few reforms have been proposed in Congress. Here is one.
When the Supreme Court halted the 2000 presidential election and declared a winner, one of its noteworthy declarations was that Americans have no constitutional right to vote for president. In fact, the United States is one of the few nations that lacks a clear affirmation of the right to vote in its constitution.
That lack explains why the nation's leaders can look the other way when a half million citizens in Washington, D.C. can be denied a voting representative in Congress even though the body that directly oversees it, why it can allow states to disfranchise more than four million citizens convicted of a felony and why so many states and counties can have such inefficient, ineffective procedures for registering voters and counting votes.
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) has introduced HJR 28 to ensure the right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. The amendment has 13 co-sponsors, as of Dec. 3, 2003.
Here are some of Rep. Jackson's remarks on this subject:
I believe that voting is not only a democratic right, it is a human right. That human right is not in our Constitution! That's why I have proposed legislation to add a voting rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution based on the INDIVIDUAL RIGHT of all Americans to vote.
August 6th was the 38th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But the Voting Rights Act is really misnamed and, to some extent, misleading. It's not actually a voting rights act. In fulfillment of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, added in 1870, the 1965 Voting Rights Act was actually a Non-Discrimination in Voting Act.
To fulfill the democratic ideal, an affirmative voting rights constitutional amendment still lies in the future. Over 100 nations explicitly guarantee their citizens the right to vote and to be represented at all levels of government. The United States is not among them.
If we pass a new voting rights amendment, the next civil rights movement will emerge fighting for congressional legislation that can advance even further the central democratic idea of universal voting - only partially enabled through the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Motor Voter and the Help American Vote legislation. With a voting rights amendment, a new civil rights movement would emerge to fight to fully implement the amendment, while also using the federal courts to interpret voting rights more fully.
Thanks to the Center for Voting and Democracy for this information.
Also support Verified Voting so that voters can know their votes counted and were tabulated correctly. A bill is in Congress, the Senate version is called S.1980, and the identical bill in the House of Representatives is called H.R.2239.
Please contact your Senators and Representative and ask their position on the bill. Here is a link to a page (sponsored by VerifiedVoting.org) that will give you further information and easy ways to contact your legislators. Please do this now. Click here
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Is your right to vote important enough to be guaranteed in the Constitution? Please contact your representatives in Congress. And feel free to share your views with The Progress Report:
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