In a speech at the Nashville Bar Association's annual Law Day luncheon, Rep. Jim Cooper proposed a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would guarantee voting rights to Americans. While the Constitution has been amended repeatedly to expand voting rights to groups such as African-Americans and women, it does not explicitly grant the right to vote.
"How many of you realize that, after the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, seven of the seventeen remaining amendments were necessary to expand voting rights? No other part of the original Constitution was so broken or so hard to fix," said Cooper. "And more repairs are needed ... Lincoln told us that government was supposed to be 'of the people, by the people and for the people.' Recognizing that everyone has something valuable to contribute to society will help us improve elections and society as a whole. Voting rights can turn equality-under-the-law into reality."
The amendment will be introduced in the near future, and the proposed text is simple:
"The right of adult citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State."
The full text of Cooper's speech can be accessed here: http://cooper.house.gov/images/Law%20Day%20PDF.pdf