Politics

Democrats Push For A Constitutional Voting Rights Amendment

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Democrats want to add a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. Though there’s no reason to believe the amendment will pass in the near future, it’s meant to lay down a long-term goal as conservatives push to restrict voting, MSNBC reported.

“We have been having an expanding of the franchise in America. That’s the trajectory of history,”  said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), who introduced the right-to-vote legislation to Congress in coordination with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin). “But in recent years, folks who don’t want everybody to vote have been very busy, and they’re trying to peel back the trajectory of opportunity to vote and participate in our society.”

The Democratic National Committee unanimously passed a resolution supporting “amending the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual’s right to vote” on Feb. 21. The DNC plans to push states to back the idea and will develop a “Right to Vote Task Force” dedicated to protecting voting rights.

The constitution is riddled with old amendments that stopped the restriction of voting rights on the basis of race (the 15th Amendment), sex (the 19th), and age, for those who are legally adults (the 26th).

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Voting rules are controlled on a state-by-state basis, but in recent years some people have had the right to vote restricted by new laws, such as voter ID requirements. For example, voter ID laws in Texas prevented 600,000 registered voters from casting their ballots.

“This would put the whole conversation around photo ID, and a lot of these restrictions on voting, in a whole new light,” said Ellison. “It would mean that the burden would be on the people who want to restrict the right to vote, not on the voter.”

Source: MSNBC Image via Ken Zirkel/Flickr