has published an article devoted to the odd fact that our Constituion does not guarantee the right to vote. Many sections of the document imply that right, but the right is never specified.
A right-to-vote amendment would raise the standard of constitutional review for voter-identification laws and other measures that deplete the pool of voters. Currently states have to show only a “compelling interest” for their laws to pass muster. An affirmative right to vote would compel courts to apply “strict scrutiny,” the standard used to review laws that operate on the basis of race and other characteristics.
During the Republican presidential primaries, every candidate except Jon Huntsman signed a pledge to support a balanced-budget amendment in Congress. There’s no reason progressives can’t do the same with a right-to-vote amendment in the next Democratic contest.
A new amendment should, in my opinion, provide not just the right but a new mechanism for choosing our president. We should finally make an end of the electoral college, which gives unfair and disproportionate influence to the rural states, and forces presidential candidates to concentrate on a few "purple" states, instead of addressing the nation at large.
As you know, partisan manipulators in Virginia
and other states
have toyed with ways to rig the electoral college system. We've had enough of this nonsense. The most sensible choice would be the institution of a nation-wide popular vote.
Why are Constitutional amendments so difficult to pass nowadays? When I was a boy, the 26th amendment -- extending the vote to 18 year olds -- sailed through rapidly. At the time, proponents argued that those old enough to die in an unpopular overseas war ought to have the franchise, a line of reasoning which proved impossible to counter.