The right to vote is considered sacred in the United States. From the War of Independence to the Civil War, the Women’s suffrage movement and the Civil Rights Movement, the Americans led countless struggles to ensure that their votes were taken into account. Despite the fact that the constitution clearly does not guarantee voting rights, many amendments concern the right to vote.
However, there are many cases where Americans are denied this sacred right. For example, if you do not live on the mainland, you most likely can not vote for your president. With the exception of residents of Alaska and Hawaii, no citizen residing outside the US mainland can cast his vote in presidential elections unless he comes to the state or the District of Columbia. This means that the views of US citizens residing in Guam, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and any other US territories are not taken into account. According to Public Radio International, this list excludes millions of Americans from participating in the most noteworthy event in the electoral process – the election of the United States President.
On the mainland, however, things are not much better. There are a number of obstacles that voters face, which are rarely brought up for discussion. In many ways, this is due to the lack of protection of the electoral rights of the constitution.
As mentioned earlier, the constitutional right to vote is absent. Today, the protection of voting rights is the responsibility of the states. The federal government takes steps only when there is a clear violation of the constitution (for example, if there is discrimination of voters on the basis of race or gender). Otherwise, state authorities may freely restrict their voting rights by any other means.
However, some try to change this situation. Fair Vote, an initiative aimed at securing voting rights in the country’s most important document, explains that “without national standards, states can freely practice their own election policies and procedures that can limit a citizen’s ability to vote.” Such vile methods, like unfair hours of voting and restrictions on the financing of campaigns, were practiced in many constituencies.
Similarly, Fair Vote indicates that in 1961 a constitutional amendment granted residents of Washington the right to vote. The amendment of the constitution will expand the voting rights for a larger number of citizens by “opening the door” for citizens to the territory of the United States, “to be able to vote for the president.” Similarly, the amendment could, in their view, “simplify procedures that complicate the electoral process”. In general, this would greatly improve the situation for Americans who live in both states and in other territories.
Americans do not even vote for the president
Technically, Americans do not even vote for the president. They vote for delegates to the Electoral College, which, in turn, elects the president. In a number of cases, this led to a completely undemocratic situation, when a candidate can lose a popular vote, but still become president. This is doubled with the fact that millions of Americans are deprived of the opportunity to choose the commander-in-chief simply because they live in the United States.
Since its inception, America has become a much more democratic society. It’s time to amend the constitution. Despite the fact that the current activity of human rights activists is inspired by the movement for the right to vote in the past, this can materially change the situation for the better.