The Constitution doesn't guarantee Americans the right to vote. That always comes as a surprise to non-lawyers. But you will search the Constitution in vain for any such guarantee, as the Justices of the Supreme Court cheerily reminded us in Bush v. Gore. What the Constitution contains is a series of thou shalt nots. Thou shalt not deny the right to vote on account of race or sex. Thou shalt not impose poll taxes. Thou shalt not prevent eighteen-year-olds from voting. It's difficult to develop a robust case law when you only know what you can't do. For this reason, several academics and reformers have proposed amending the Constitution to include a right to vote. They argue that a constitutional amendment would produce any number of progressive goodies, including an end to partisan gerrymandering, strict policing of burdens placed on the right to vote, and an expansion of the franchise.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Gerken, Heather K., "The Right to Vote: Is the Amendment Game Worth the Candle?" (2014). Faculty Scholarship Series. 5169.