Voting Rights Ad Campaign Backs Constitutional Right To Vote

04/11/2013 03:14 pm ET | Updated Apr 11, 2013

The Advancement Project is beginning a new push for a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right to vote. As part of the campaign, the group is running a new ad on MSNBC featuring Desiline Victor, the 102-year-old Florida woman who stood in line for hours to vote and was referenced in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

“Advancement Project has been for a number of years doing work around the idea of a constitutional amendment for a right to vote,” Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis told The Huffington Post. “We’ve been putting this idea out there about the need for the right to vote, and we also think it’s important in terms of messaging and a need for broader discussion around what it means to participate in our democracy.”

While the Constitution makes clear that the right to vote shouldn’t be infringed because of race, sex or age (over 18), it never affirmatively states that Americans are guaranteed the right to vote. Voting rights advocates want that to change.

“We have in this country 13,000 election jurisdictions that run elections 13,000 different ways, and part of the reason that we need a constitutional amendment is to have some federal standards around elections so that we’re all voting kind of the same way on the same date -- all those things that we believe Americans support,” Dianis said.

Dianis said that while they have limited resources, the group is in the process of raising money for a “full-blown constitutional amendment campaign.”

“Now is the time for a constitutional amendment,” Dianis said. “We need to clarify for the courts, for state legislatures that have been rolling back voting rights and for the American public that this is a precious and fundamental right, and we need to make it explicit and clear so that we have national standards across the board.”

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