17 Sep Foreclosure Does Not Take Away Your Right To Vote
Surprisingly, the right to vote in a governmental election is NOT guaranteed by the US Constitution. One naturally assumes one has a right to vote, but history teaches us that assumption was not always well received.
It was not until 1870 that our country adopted the 15th Amendment preventing states and the federal government from interfering in the voting process on account of â€œrace, color, or previous condition of servitude.â€ This amendment is viewed as guarantying the right to vote to African American citizens, a right that did not previously exist.
Fifty years later, the 19th Amendment prohibited the use of oneâ€™s â€œsexâ€ as a voting qualification, thus leading to Womenâ€™s Suffrage.
But no where does the body of the Constitution, or any other amendment guarantee a federal right to vote to the general citizenry. Though some states provide a state constitutional right, arguably, a state or the federal government could attempt to regulate voting along the lines of a non-racial, non-gender based criteria, and not violate the US Constitution.
And political parties have attempted to do so by imposition of various tactics not so long ago, including the payment of a poll tax, which was outlawed by the 24th Amendment in 1964; and by age, which the 26th amendment extended voting protection to 18 year olds and older in 1971. In 1961 the 23rd Amendment extended presidential voting rights to citizens of the District of Columbia.
Most recently, the debate rages over whether a state can demand a voter identification card as a prerequisite to voting. And the most common method is the simple process of registration. Every state requires a voter to register and indicate a place of residence.
So what happens when that place of residence is foreclosed? Foreclosure does not take away your ability to vote. No state law currently requires homeownership. Do not let anyone prevent you from voting due to foreclosure.
The folks at No Voter Left Behind dot net want the millions of homeowners in foreclosure to let their voice be heard at the ballot box on Election Day. They encourage registered voters to follow these 3 points:
1. If you are in foreclosure and still living in your home, you should continue to vote in the district where you live.
2. If you move due to foreclosure, you should register at your new address. You do not have to have a home to be able to vote.
3. If you move after the registration deadline closes, you should vote at the place you were last registered. If your ballot is challenged you should ask to affirm your residence or ask for a provisional ballot. The poll workers are required to provide you with voting assistance.
If you are not registered to vote, do so now. No one will hear your voiceif you do not participate in the electoral process.
Andy Miofsky, Esq.
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