All posts tagged: Lower courts

How to Actually Guarantee the Right to Vote

How to Actually Guarantee the Right to Vote

As election season begins and Americans head to the polls, many would be shocked to learn that the United States Constitution does not guarantee them the right to vote. It instead leaves the question of voter qualifications mainly to the states, and bars voting discrimination only on the basis of certain protected categories, such as race and gender. What’s worse, courts for the past 50 years have repeatedly failed to protect Americans who have been denied the franchise or who face unnecessary hurdles exercising it. The Supreme Court in 1973 refused to recognize that disenfranchisement of felons who had completed their sentences violated the Constitution. The Court in 2000 rejected the claim of residents of Washington, D.C., that they had the right to vote for members of Congress. Lower courts similarly rejected voting-rights claims brought by U.S. citizens living in U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico. The Supreme Court also upheld an Arizona law barring the third-party collection of mail-in ballots, a prohibition that made voting harder for Native Americans living on reservations. Adam Serwer: …