Right to Vote Amendment
Everyone should have the right to vote in free and fair elections regardless of who they are or where they live. To that end, FairVote advocates for establishing an explicit individual right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. In pursuit of that ideal, FairVote works to enact policies at the federal, state, and local levels that are consistent with our conviction that voting is not a privilege, but a right. We have a strategy for change that is grounded in having a national vision and local action plan, as embodied by our Promote Our Vote project.
HJ Res. 44
U.S. House Members Mark Pocan and Keith Ellison have shown great leadership in introducing House Joint Resolution 44 (HJ Res. 44), a bill proposing an amendment to the Constitution establishing an explicit right to vote. HJ Res. 44 would provide much needed protection for an individual right to vote in the United States.
The right to vote is the foundation of any democracy. Yet most Americans do not realize that we do not have an explicitly protected right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. While there are amendments to the U.S. Constitution that prohibit discrimination based on race (15th), sex (19th) and age (26th), no explicit right to vote exists. That hole in our Constitution creates gaps in our protection of what should be a fundamental right.
The 2000 presidential election was the first time many Americans realized the necessity of a constitutional right to vote. The majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Bush v. Gore (2000), wrote, "The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States." The U.S. is one of only 11 other democracies in the world with no affirmative right to vote enshrined in its constitution.
The Right to Vote Amendment Will . . .
- Guarantee the right to vote for every citizen of voting age
- Empower Congress to set national minimum electoral standards
- Provide protection against attempts to disenfranchise individual voters
- Ensure that every vote cast is counted correctly
- Ground a movement for how we can live up to the ideal of the right to vote in our states and cities
Many reforms are needed to solve the electoral problems we continue to experience every election cycle. The first is providing a solid foundation upon which these reforms can be made. This solid foundation is an amendment that clearly protects an explicit right to vote for every U.S. citizen.