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News :: Politics
Jesse Jackson, Jr. Fights for Constitutional Right to Vote
27 Apr 2005
Last night, the National Voting Rights Institute and Lesley University hosted Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. to speak to the issue of a constitutional right to vote for all US citizens. Speaking to a packed audience at the Marran Theater, Congressman Jackson made it abundantly clear that there is no specific guarantee providing the right to vote under the US Constitution, and so he has filed House Joint Resolution 28 to remedy this.
BOSTON – Last night, the National Voting Rights Institute and Lesley University hosted Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. to speak to the issue of a constitutional right to vote for all US citizens. Speaking to a packed audience at the Marran Theater, Congressman Jackson made it abundantly clear that there is no specific guarantee providing the right to vote under the US Constitution, and so he has filed House Joint Resolution 28 to remedy this.

The 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments provide protection against discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and age respectively. But with regard to national elections it is the 10th Amendment that provides for states, not the federal government, to determine the right to vote and how elections may be conducted. Since national elections are shaped by a state’s rights system, Congress does not have the authority to define entitlements of suffrage or impose election procedures.

Some states do not allow convicted felons to vote until their time is served, while others prohibit voting for life. States like Vermont and Maine allow felons to vote while in prison. The methods of marking, casting and counting votes varies widely from state to state, and within states themselves. “Voting in America is overseen by 13,000 different election administrations, all separate and unequal,” Congressman Jackson states. Legislation like the Help America Vote Act of 2002 cannot contend with many of the irregularities and problems plaguing US elections for this reason. By implication, the current Carter - Baker Election Commission will serve more as a façade of official inquiry than affect true reform.

A Constitutional amendment will “provide Congress with the authority to craft a unitary voting system that is inclusive of all Americans and guarantees that all votes will be counted in a complete, fair and efficient manner,” Jackson also states. Fighting to shift power away from state and local governments will likely be met with significant resistance. While such an amendment may help to curb practices that disenfranchise voters, it could also have severe consequences for how elections are conducted and certified.

When asked what voting methods he preferred, Congressman Jackson said the simple answer is that he does not have one. His issue, he said, is fighting for this Constitutional provision to vote, because all other questions about voting must follow from this. By what methods and technologies an election is conducted is a matter of heated debate, with advocates for total computer voting at odds with those who fight to preserve paper ballots counted by hand. The passing of House Joint Resolution 28 and its impact remain to be seen.

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Jesse Jackson, Jr. Fights for Constitutional Right to Vote
26 Apr 2005
Did Jesse not get the news? We all have the right to vote!
Re: Jesse Jackson, Jr. Fights for Constitutional Right to Vote
27 Apr 2005
did you not read the article?
Re: Jesse Jackson, Jr. Fights for Constitutional Right to Vote
29 Apr 2005
Before US citizens gain nationally mandated universal suffrage:
Rich white men set policy.
After US citizens gain nationally mandated universal suffrage:
Rich white men will set policy.

Vote with your dollar, the one you put in the ballot box means nothing.
Re: Jesse Jackson, Jr. Fights for Constitutional Right to Vote
01 May 2005
Word! Thanks for getting this out. I am a student at Lesley and am glad to see someone posting things about our campus and community. People on this website can be a little bit brutal in their commentary so don't be too disappointed with the comments. More importantly, know that you made me so excited to know someone in my community is getting the word out through new channels.

thanks again!

Alison

PS: If you are involved in the lesley community drop me a line, its good to get to know your allies out here...