U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, aimed high with his first bill as a member of Congress: a constitutional amendment establishing the right to vote. As I explained in a recent post, the amendment may sound superfluous but legal scholars acknowledge that the right to vote is not currently guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and adding language to that effect could impact laws that affect voting, such as voter ID. The bill may have little chance of advancing in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, but it is getting attention — for all it’s worth — from progressives across the country.
…Although the amendment’s simplicity makes it appear uncontroversial, and Pocan has emphasized that he believes the bill can attract bipartisan support, there is so far little evidence that Republicans are interested in supporting the bill. Of the dozen co-sponsors so far, all are Democrats.
One potential (and surprising) source of Republican support could be Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls.
Although the long-time conservative is a strong backer of voter ID requirements, he is also a staunch advocate for maintaining the Voting Rights Act, the landmark law that has given the federal government power to oversee election administration in areas of the country with a history of preventing minorities from voting.