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An Official Right to Vote

Adam Fogel // Published August 13, 2009 in The New York Times
To the Editor:

“A Loss for Voting Rights” (editorial, Aug. 5), concerning the disenfranchisement by some states of people with felony convictions, highlights the need for an affirmative right to vote in our Constitution.

The current patchwork system of eligibility requirements and widespread lack of uniformity in election administration cannot help but lead to fundamental inequalities in our democracy. All Americans, regardless of who they are or where they are from, should have the right to vote and have their voice heard in the political process.

Rather than relying on the 14th Amendment, which only indirectly protects voting rights, enshrining these rights affirmatively and unambiguously in the Constitution would allow Congress to set national standards for all elections, grant full representation to the citizens of the District of Columbia and enfranchise the millions of Americans whose civil rights have been unjustly taken away.

Adam Fogel
Right to Vote Director, FairVote
Takoma Park, Md., Aug. 6, 2009a