The fragile state of voting rights for people of color was a prominent feature of the August 24 Realize the Dream rally commemorating the 1963 March on Washington. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) called for "one man, one vote," a refrain he used at the 1963 march. Attorney General Eric Holder called for a continued struggle "until every eligible American has the chance to exercise his or her right to vote, unencumbered by discriminatory or unneeded procedures, rules or practices." Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, said at the rally, "Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act and we must build the movement for a constitutional right to vote."
With a fractured Voting Rights Act now limited in how it can protect the ballot for people of color, and low confidence that Congress can fix it, the call for a constitutional amendment that enshrine the right to vote is growing louder. An amendment would mean that state legislatures like North Carolina’s, which passed a sweeping voter ID law in mid-August, could not simply enact legislation that impacts voters without it being examined under a strict threshold of scrutiny. While it would be an effective solution, the road to a new constitutional amendment is long and steep. Here are the steps: