Political Science

A Real Right to Vote: How a Constitutional Amendment Can Safeguard American Democracy

Why it's time to enshrine the right to vote in the Constitution

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Published:
Feb 20, 2024
2024
Illus:
1 b/w illus.
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Throughout history, too many Americans have been disenfranchised or faced needless barriers to voting. Part of the blame falls on the Constitution, which does not contain an affirmative right to vote. The Supreme Court has made matters worse by failing to protect voting rights and limiting Congress’s ability to do so. The time has come for voters to take action and push for an amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee this right for all.

Drawing on troubling stories of state attempts to disenfranchise military voters, women, African Americans, students, former felons, Native Americans, and others, Richard Hasen argues that American democracy can and should do better in assuring that all eligible voters can cast a meaningful vote that will be fairly counted. He shows how a constitutional right to vote can deescalate voting wars between political parties that lead to endless rounds of litigation and undermine voter confidence in elections, and can safeguard democracy against dangerous attempts at election subversion like the one we witnessed in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.

The path to a constitutional amendment is undoubtedly hard, especially in these polarized times. A Real Right to Vote explains what’s in it for conservatives who have resisted voting reform and reveals how the pursuit of an amendment can yield tangible dividends for democracy long before ratification.