A Constitutional Right to Vote The Promise of House Joint Resolution 44
Establishing an explicit constitutional right to vote would strengthen the claims of all citizens to be able to exercise their suffrage rights and limit the ability of federal, state, or local governments to impinge upon the right to vote.
Grounded in our belief that the right to vote is a cornerstone of representative democracy that depends upon broadly defined voter eligibility, universal voter access to the polls, and election integrity, FairVote supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishing such an explicit right to vote. Recent Supreme Court cases only underscore the value of such an approach, as a properly worded amendment would provide a check on abuses of federal power of the time, place and manner of congressional elections, a check on abuses of state power over voter eligibility in elections, and a means to establish policies designed to prevent practices at any level of government that unnecessarily undercut participation or have a discriminatory impact.
Grounded in our analysis of American history and global and state models, FairVote supports a broadly worded constitutional amendment to ensure that every U.S. citizen of voting age has a right to vote in every election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides. U.S. House Members Keith Ellison and Mark Pocan have shown great leadership in introducing House Joint Resolution 44 (HJ Res. 44), legislation to establish a right to vote in the U.S. Constitution with language that is largely consistent with our recommendation. As explained in this analysis, HJ Res. 44 would provide much needed protection for an individual right to vote in the United States.