July 9, 2013

is it time for a right to vote

The right to vote is the foundation of any democracy, yet the Supreme Court has just struck down a central provision of the Voting Rights Act. Unlike the citizens of all but 11 nations, Americans do not have an explicit right to vote in their constitution. Congressman Mark Pocan is a lead sponsor of HJ Res. 44 in the U.S. House of Representatives to strengthen the claims of all citizens to exercise their suffrage rights. American cities have also begun to consider resolutions to support a constitutional right to vote and changes designed to promote, protect and expand voting.

What would a right to vote in the Constitution mean for particular voting rights struggles? How would it affect the future of the Voting Rights Act and voting rights for the people of Washington, D.C.? Congressman Pocan will make the case for an explicit right to vote in the Constitution. Discussing what the amendment may mean for enhancing a voting rights movement are Washington Correspondent for The Nation John Nichols, Advancement Project co-director Judith Browne Dianis and Color of Change executive director Rashad Robinson. Takoma Park city councilor Tim Male and FairVote's PromoteOurVote.com director Patricia Hart will outline one strategy launched at a local level that holds promise for a realistic roadmap for reform. Mark Schmitt, Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute moderated the discussion.


Keynote Address

Congressman Mark Pocan

The Honorable Mark Pocan


Following 14 years in the Wisconsin State Assembly, Congressman Mark Pocan was sworn in on January 3, 2013, as the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s second district.

Meet the Panel

Judith Browne Dianis

Patricia Hart

Tim Male

Rashad Robinson

john Nichols

Mark Schmitt