The following is our recommended list of Resources. Our list compiles select writings by leading academics, organizers, journalists, and litigators on topics relevant to the Right to Vote Initiative, including right-to-vote amendment language and the history of the right to vote and race.  We also feature webinars and other up-to-date resources.

By Jesse (Rev.) Jackson Sr. | October 17, 2016

We Need A Right-To-Vote Amendment N.Y. Times, July 27, 2016

The Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. writes:

“We need to add a right-to-vote amendment to the Constitution that gives every American an explicit individual right to vote and that gives Congress the authority to create a unified national voting system with certain common-sense minimum standards.”

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By Jesse (Rev.) Jackson Sr. | October 17, 2016

What Professor Barack Obama Was Trying To Tell Us Rainbow Push Coalition (2015)

An essay by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. on the need for a constitutional right to vote. 

“So we won the military battle in 1865.  We won the legal battles in 1954, 1964 and 1965.  But we haven’t defeated the Confederates and their ideological battle of advocating and defending states’ rights. . . . .  A national unified voting system would replace our current ‘states’ rights’ voting system that is comprised of 50 states (plus D.C.), 3,143 counties, 13,000 election jurisdictions that administer 186,000 precincts, that are all in ‘separate and unequal’ local voting jurisdictions.” 

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By Heather Gerken, Ilya Shapiro, Keith Ellison, Lani Guinier, Mark Pocan, Penda Hair, Rick Hasen | October 17, 2016

Room For Debate: Should Voting Be A Constitutional Right? N.Y. Times, Nov. 3, 2014

A distinguished group, including Penda Hair, Professor Lani Guinier, Professor Rick Hasen, and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), debate the merits of a right-to-vote amendment.  Professor Guinier and Ms. Hair:

“Without an amendment that explicitly affirms the constitutional right to vote in national elections, politicians will feel free to enact restrictive voting policies that would block millions of citizens from the ballot box.”

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By James Uriah Blacksher, Lani Guinier | October 17, 2016

Free at Last, Rejecting Equal State Sovereignty and Restoring the Constitutional Right to Vote: Shelby County v. Holder 8 Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev. 39 (2014)

In this law review article, Professor Lani Guinier and voting rights litigator James Blacksher present the case for a movement to restore “the affirmative, constitutional right to vote” that has “always resided in the plain words of the Privileges or Immunities Clause.”  They urge:

“It is up to us, the American people, to demand that Congress carry out its constitutional duty in ways that unmistakably acknowledge that the descendants of slaves are full and equal members of the sovereign people and that establish a nationwide regime of election laws capable of protecting uniformly the voting rights of all American citizens.”

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By Lani Guinier, Martin Newhouse | October 17, 2016

Voting Rights and Voting Wrongs: An Interview with Lani Guinier Mass Humanities, (Spring 2006)

Mass Humanities Foundation board member Martin Newhouse discusses the right to vote with Professor Lani Guinier.  Professor Guinier:

“The Constitution created no voters. Rather, it said that the voters would be the people that the states determined could vote. And then you had amendments to the Constitution . . .  .  But those are negative proscriptions. They are not an affirmative guarantee that we really want all citizens of the United States to participate in making the decisions that affect their lives. So this is a structural defect that is at the heart of our constitutional arrangement.”

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