citizens united v federal election commission,

decided to look at modern proposed constitutional amendments and hey–these are some great things to talk to your representatives and senators about!

highlights include: 

- efforts to ensure that constitutional rights are only afforded to people, NOT corporations, overturning Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. this one’s come up in both the house and the senate (proposed by Bernie himself).

- Jesse Jackson’s Right To Vote amendment, which would enfranchise all legal US citizens

- the Equal Opportunity to Govern amendment, which would allow naturalized citizens with at least twenty years’ citizenship to become president. Ironically, this seemingly-liberal proposal was put in by Republican Orrin Hatch, our current president per tempore of the Senate–because remember in the early 2000s when it seemed like Arnold Schwarzenegger had a real shot? LET’S THROW THIS ONE BACK IN THEIR FACES, Y’ALL.

and of course

- the Every Vote Counts amendment, which would abolish the electoral college. there are currently several iterations of this floating around

HOW REPUBLICANS WIN ELECTIONS

STEP 1: GERRYMANDERING

In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts.

Gerrymandering is named after Massachusetts governor, Elbridge Gerry because an election district created by members of his party in 1812 looked  like a salamander.

As you can see, the popular vote and the congressional seats won are very different. Some of these states have a Democratic majority voters, but still more seats go to republicans.

Honestly, can we just have computers make the districts???

STEP 2: REMOVE ELECTION FINANCE LAWS

“There is not going to be any real enforcement.”

“The few rules that are left, people feel free to ignore.”

Those are recent statements by two members of the Federal Election Commission — the government agency that is supposed to enforce our country’s campaign finance rules. You know it from Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. FEC, the disastrous Supreme Court rulings that are allowing unlimited corporate spending to drown out the voices of everyday Americans in our political process. Corporations are now allowed to funnel unlimited money into SuperPACs that do not require to tell us who are funding their donations and advertisements.

Since Citizens United was decided in 2010, outside money in our elections grows while transparency shrinks. Outside spending on the 2014 elections alone was well over $500 MILLION. Backed by a geyser of money supplied by ultra-wealthy donors and corporations, radical right-wing extremists swept Senate and House races across the country. The Koch Brothers are doubling down and preparing to spend almost a billion dollars over the next two years. Not to mention Wall Street banks, Oil and Gas Industry, and every other corporation are looking to influence legislation.

What happens after these elections? Less than a quarter of all government contractors disclose their campaign donations. Corporations that receive government contracts shouldn’t be able to secretly spend big money electing and re-electing the same lawmakers who are handing out government contracts. With these Supreme Court rulings there is no government accountability and corporations are allowed to pay to play.

STEP 3: RESTRICT VOTING

Last year the Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Before this ruling, Section 5 mandated that states with a history of racial discrimination seek “preclearance" to make any changes to voting procedures. Section 5 was extremely effective at ensuring that discriminatory voting procedures weren’t implemented. Now, individuals in these states are susceptible to an increased chance of discrimination when trying to head to the polls.

Since 2010, 21 states have added new voting restrictions. Extensive studies have showed that there has been only 31 out of 1,000,000,000 cases of voter fraud in the last 14 years. These photo ID laws that are sold to prevent fraud are only made to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of student, minority, and elderly voters. Anybody whose name does not match when you first registered; if you are a woman and you registered to vote before getting married and your married name does not match or specifically transgender people. In Texas as one example, there are only 81 DMVs in its 254 counties. Furthermore, many of these IDs cost the individual, causing a election tax which is illegal. These states have also made attacks on early voting, and laws making it harder to register to vote. 

It is also illegal for developmentally and intellectually disabled people to vote in 39 states. At least 70% of polling sites nationwide are physically inaccessible and less than half of these sites offer curbside voting causing disabled people are about 20% less likely to vote than abled people.

The point is women, minority, lgbt and young voters tend to vote with the Democratic or third parties. The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, but most Americans would be surprised to find out there is no affirmative right to vote in the U.S. Constitution.