Reps. Pocan and Ellison Introduce Right to Vote Constitutional Amendment
“The biggest strength of our democracy is that all citizens have an equal say through their vote”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and 24 original cosponsors introduced a resolution, which would explicitly guarantee the right to vote. At a time when voting rights across the country have come under unprecedented assault and faith in our election process is being undermined by President Donald Tump, the Pocan-Ellison Right to Vote Amendment would amend the U.S. Constitution to provide all Americans with the affirmative right to vote.
While most Americans believe an explicit right to vote is enshrined in our Constitution, the Constitution contains no expressed guarantee of an individual’s right to vote. A constitutional amendment can ensure this right is guaranteed while also providing a pathway to challenge attempts to restrict voting rights.
“The biggest strength of our democracy is that all citizens have an equal say through their vote,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “We have seen constant attempts by some states to erode voting rights and make it harder for citizens to vote. Our current President has also spread lies about illegal voting in what clearly looks like an attempt to undermine our election process. This constitutional amendment would help prevent these attempts to erode voting rights and affirm the principle of equal participation in our democracy for every citizen. Our democracy is strongest when everyone is able to participate, and it is time to fulfill that promise to the American people.”
“The vote is the most powerful non-violent tool for change that we have in a democratic society,” Rep. John Lewis said. “We need to make it simple and easy for every American citizen, who is of voting age, to weigh in on the matters that govern their lives. This bill guarantees that eligible citizens cannot be so easily disenfranchised, and the right of each have a say in the democratic process is protected.”
The ongoing assault on voting rights in states across the country underscores the need for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 46 bills to restrict access to registration and voting have been introduced in 21 states as of February 1, 2017, including efforts to require a photo ID, make voter registration more difficult, reduce early voting opportunities, and make it harder for students to vote.
This legislation is also cosponsored by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Steven Cohen (D-TN), John Conyers (D-MI), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Lucille Roybal Allard (D-CA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Mark Takano (D-CA), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).
The text of the amendment is below:
SECTION 1: Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides.
SECTION 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.
Press Releases by Mark Pocan
Rep. Pocan & Democratic Caucus Chairman Crowley Respond to the Withdrawal of Andy Puzder as Labor SecretaryFeb 15th, 2017 by Mark Pocan
"President Trump nominated someone who violated the laws he is supposed to enforce."
Rep. Pocan Urges President Trump to Fully Declassify Report on Russian Interference in 2016 ElectionFeb 14th, 2017 by Mark Pocan
"I feel it is imperative the American people get all the facts…"
Forty-Two House Democrats Urge Office of Government Ethics to Examine Kellyanne Conway’s Public Endorsement of Ivanka Trump’s Product LineFeb 10th, 2017 by Mark Pocan
"As a federal employee, Kellyanne Conway appears to have clearly violated these standards with her recent comments."
A recent Pew survey shows that 60% of Americans—an overwhelming majority—support unions.
“Andy Puzder has consistently stood on the side of big business and failed to support workers”
Pocan Statement on President Trump’s Divisive, Un-American Executive Order Banning Entry to US From Majority-Muslim CountriesJan 30th, 2017 by Mark Pocan
"I stand alongside the people of my district and will explore a number of means of fighting against this prejudice and division."