The United States constitution is often referred to as a “living document,” changing and growing as society moves forward. The tool for those changes is amendment. Ten amendments, collected as the Bill of Rights, were passed soon after the constitution itself.
On Sunday, January 26, Juan Cerda laid out the process for changing our founding document. It begins in Congress — neither President nor Supreme Court play a role. Once approved in the Senate and House, the proposed amendment is sent to the states for their agreement. Three-fourths -- that’s 38 states -- must ratify the amendment in order to attach it to our constitution.
Interest in the amendment process has jumped in recent years. The trend of politicians winning office without a majority of votes is fraying confidence in democracy. New questions about the process emerged when Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA. How long may states take to ratify an amendment? Can a state de-ratify it’s ratification? How these issues are resolved may depend on whether Democrats are successful in November.
The fate of voting reform and the ERA are more reasons why your vote in November is critical. Solidarity Sundays kicked off 2020 by looking at how to register voters overseas. Voting from abroad has quirks and complications that voting at home does not. New laws mean we can’t rely on home state election officials to keep us on their voting rolls — so expats need to re-register every calendar year.Our right to vote is protected — but each state has different procedures and deadlines.And not all overseas voters are alike — student voters have different needsthan long-term expats, who have different needs from recent arrivals. With so much complexity, how can we ensure every overseas citizen can vote?
Tanya Lolonis and Faith Hall-Herbold introduced attendees to DA‘s online voter registration website. It anticipates and addresses voters‘ unique questions. Designed by Democrats Abroad, www.VoteFromAbroad.org automates filling in forms — eliminating mistakes that can disqualify your application, and generating contact details so you can submit the form to your hometown election official. The site‘s Help Desk answers most questions about voting from abroad — and where it doesn‘t, the site connects you to volunteers who research and answer your question within a few hours.
Visit www.VoteFromAbroad.org and follow its easy-to-understand steps. Register today. Help your friends and family register. Saving democracy has never been easier.