This election proves the need for a right to vote

This election proves the need for a right to vote
A young African American woman casting her ballot in 1964

America needs an absolute right to vote, like most other major democracies.

One legacy of slavery is that our Constitution does not contain an absolute right to vote for all citizens who have achieved the age of majority.

Our property rights are totally intact. If the government wants to take away your house or your car because, for example, you didn't pay your taxes, they have to go to court to do it.

Our gun rights are strong. If the government wants to take away your guns, they have to go to court and prove their case in front of a judge.

Our marriage rights are solid, at least until Amy Coney Barrett weighs in on the Supreme Court. If a government official tries to deny you a marriage license, that person can be sued or, in some states, even go to jail.

Our free speech rights have been so expanded that the Supreme Court has ruled that if billionaires want to buy politicians, that is totally legal and considered "free speech."

Our right to due process is still respected in America. If the government wants to put you in jail, they have to go before a jury of your peers and prove their case.

Voting, however, is not and never has been a right in America. Which is why the largest part of the Republican election strategy this year has been to prevent people from voting, and to try to block their vote from being counted after it's been cast.

Because we do not have a right to vote, the Postmaster General can delay your ballot without worrying about going to jail, and Republican politicians across the country can pass laws making it harder and harder for you to vote or have your vote counted.

Taking away our votes should be as tough a job for Republicans as taking away our homes or our guns.

America needs a 28th Amendment that establishes an absolute right to vote for all citizens who've achieved the age of majority. While we're working on that, we need laws that assert the right to vote in such emphatic language that courts can enforce it and reverse decades of Republican voter suppression.

Only then can America call itself a functioning democratic republic.

Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream; The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America; and more than 25 other books in print.

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