Democracy Forum 5/17/24: Constitutional Right to Vote: Do we have it, do we need it?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Production Assistance:
Joel Mann

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Ruth Eveland, Michael Fisher, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Rick Lyles, Judith Lyles, Leah Taylor, and Linda Washburn.

Democracy Forum: Participatory Democracy, encouraging citizens to take an active role in government and politics

This month:
Some of us thought we already had a right to vote. Where are we getting it wrong? How would a Constitutional Amendment help? What are the chances of getting it?

– Dmitry Bam, Vice Dean/Provost, Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law
– Rich Hasen, Professor of Law and Political Science at UCLA and Director of the Safeguarding Democracy Project.

To learn more about this topic:
1. Opinion | How Do You Teach Constitutional Law With This Supreme Court? | The New York Times, Jesse Wegman (NYT Editorial Board), February 2024,
2. A Real Right to Vote: How a Constitutional Amendment Can Safeguard American Democracy, Rick Hasen, February 2024,
3. Opinion | The U.S. Lacks What Every Democracy Needs | New York Times, Rick Hasen, January 2024,
4. Does the Constitution Guarantee a Right to Vote? The Answer May Surprise You | New York Times, Michael Wines, October 2022,
5. The Right to Vote: Is the Amendment Game Worth the Candle? | William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Heather Gerken, October 2014,  
6. What Does the Constitution Say About the Right to Vote? – Democracy Docket, Mac Brower, February 2022,
7. The Missing Right: A Constitutional Right to Vote : Democracy Journal, Jonathan Soros, Spring 2013,
8. What Does the Constitution Actually Say About Voting Rights? | The Atlantic, Garrett Epps, August, 2013,
9. The Right to Vote by Alexander Keyssar | Hachette Book Group, 2000,
10. Voting rights laws and constitutional amendments | USAGov,

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.