Jim Cooper Proposes a Constitutional Amendment to Ensure the Right to Vote

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According to The City Paper's Andrea Zelinski, Rep. Jim Cooper told the Nashville Bar Association Wednesday that he's crafting a proposed 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution aimed at protecting citizens’ right to vote.

Cooper acknowledges the difficulty of the task ahead of him. "Cooper said his constitutional amendment would likely need to ride the wave of a visible national scandal to gain enough support to pass," Zelinski writes.

I'm not sure it would be that difficult. A simply worded amendment that guaranteed every eligible U.S. citizen the right to vote would seem like a no-brainer to most people, and it would be a nightmare for politicians who had to rationalize voting against it. The trick would be to generate enough public knowledge of it ahead of time, so that it wouldn't just get swept under the rug.

Zelinski goes into more depth about why Cooper feels such an amendment is necessary:

His constitutional amendment would have probably taken up recent changes to voting laws in Tennessee by the state’s GOP-led legislature, such as those that require voters show certain types of government-issued IDs to cast a ballot, he said. He also pointed to issues within the Davidson County Election Commission, which is reeling over concerns of its mismanagement of the election process.

“People who want to tamper with the vote or mess up elections would know that a federal judge would be on their case stopping that,” Cooper said. “Today, we don’t really have that guarantee. Sometimes they intervene, but after the fact when it’s too late.”

I think this is a smart move on Cooper's part. He can introduce the amendment, and then every time one of these snafus or pieces of stupid legislation gets passed, he can build his case for the amendment. It will take some time, but I'm not sure this is as much of a long shot as Cooper thinks.

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