< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: The that for the sake of which.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The that for the sake of which.

Despite the initial posts from this site, Amendment Nine exists because several people would like to put their various ideas out for a new progressive agenda. Here is idea one:

A federal right to vote; Amendment 26 redux.
There isn't one now. Bush v. Gore made that painfully clear. There is only a right to equal protection. This is problematic and yields the hodge-podge regulations amongst are states. Further, with no federal right to vote, states are able to disenfranchise certain groups of voters (today, typically black and hispanic voters, earlier in history, typically debtor voters) so long as they avoid obvious racial classifications. A universal federal right to vote (all adult American citizens) puts pressure on the states and Congress to treat the ballot professionally. This increases confidence in the political process. It also makes attempts to disenfranchise minority factions extremely difficult (here minority is used generically, not exclusive to race). Moreover, an increase in minority participation (again, generic) makes the likelihood of an extreme or radical government closer to zero. Ancillary benefits include reexamination of the Electoral College, reassessment of representation between big and small states, a revisit of campaign finance policy, significantly less volatility in presidential elections. This is just the kernel of the idea, but it is the central idea for any progressive platform. Both parties would ultimately benefit from such a move, though each would experience inevitable growing pains as the sphere of political influence grows. A federal right to vote is necessary for the continued success of the American experiment.

In order to be as effective as possible, this right should be added to the Constitution. Altering the poorly drafted Amend 26th would be one interesting way to achieve this goal. Less effective, but equally interesting, would be challenger litigation suing for a violation of a federal, constitutional right using Amend 9, Amend 10 and Amend 26 to argue for a constitutionally implicit federal right to vote (novel). Note: coincidentally, this would have the effect of overturning Bush v. Gore (which with its judicially created “our holding applies to this case only” caveat, wouldn’t really matter that much anyway). Please discuss…


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is pretty rich stuff. i didn't even know there was no constitutional right to vote, so i agree, there should be one!

8:18 PM  
Blogger spankyhead said...

yeah, good point. but how do you amend an amendment? dont' you have to repeal it first?

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amend an amendment lol!

8:22 PM  
Blogger spankyhead said...

that wasn't supposed to be funny! seriously, anyone out there know how to amend an amendment... should you repeal the old one and pass a new one or can you just make sure the judges you appoint interpret the amendment a certain way or can you amend it without needing to pass it through the states or what?

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gotta go all the way back through the states. i think amendment nine needs to be amended!

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would this amendment accomplish?

I do not see any benefits from your suggestions. Federalizing the election system or even going to a popular vote is rediculous. They would weaken our election process by allowing one centralized power to control the outcome of our elections. It would also be a legistical nightmare, can you imagine a nationwide recount?

I think it is also shortsighted to think that the progressive movement would gain political advandtage. Eventhough doing so would put party above of country, it more than likely would hurt your cause. What makes you think progressives would get a majority vote of the people who are currently unable to make it to the polls? For the people that do not take much interest in politics may also be easily swayed to the right.

You can't force people to vote and their is nothing holding them back. Why do you think getting people who don't care enough to vote in our current system to the polls will reduce the likelyhood of an extreme governement take-over?

You obviously believe all of the stories about voter disenfrancisement. I don't, but I appreciate your passion to fix a problem you see. If I saw it I would be there with you. To me it looks like the efforts of a Party losing grip of its 70 year reign in Washington. For the last 10 years the Republicans have scratched their way back to a majority they haven't enjoyed since before Hoover.

If you truly are afraid about a corrupt government takeover you must at least look into the Democratic Party. Corruption is centered around power. The GOP may be in power now, but they were out of power for most of the 20th century. They are just starting their time on the top and are still close to being puched off. There motives have a better chance of being pure.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Federalist X said...

Dear "Anonymous", thank you for your comment. Hopefully you'll be good enough to check back and see my reply. I have not suggested going to a popular vote. Only that the electoral college, originally designed as a mediation device between highly regionalized states, might be re-examined with new vigor should a federal right to vote exist. I also did not intend to imply that progressives would inherently benefit, only that to be a progressive, and one serious about making the republic work, one must realize that states can only ineffectively arbitrate disputes over federal elections. I also agree, we cannot force people to vote. My point about encouraging minority faction participation in federal elections was purely madisonian in nature: the more factions participating, and participating vigorously at that, the less chance there is any one of them will be able to rise to power without compromising with all of them. That is the essence of our federal system. And it is not effectively maintained by our current election system. States, who themselves have rather large interests in federal outcomes, simply are no longer trustworthy as managers of elections. And I don't simply "believe" things about voter disenfranchisement, I've witnessed on large scales ever since I was began working in politics, some twenty years ago. I hope this has clarified some positions for you.

9:42 AM  

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