Monday, September 8, 2014
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says the United States is among 11 nations who elect public officials but do not guarantee citizens the right to vote. Today, he joined Rev. Jesse Jackson and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in advocating for a constitutional amendment that would protect the right to vote.
"It's time for the United States to join the rest of the world in supporting its citizens," Peduto said.
Pittsburgh is the second city to come out in support of a constitutional amendment. In August, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and the Cincinnati city council led the way by passing a resolution endorsing the addition of a voting rights amendment.
Earlier today, Rev. Jackson met with Pittsburgh city council to urge them to pass a similar resolution.
"All Americans should have the fundamental constitutional right to vote," Jackson said. "Most people really think they have that right now, but they don't. Each state has its own set of rules on elections."
Jackson's campaign is in response to the August 2013 Supreme Court decision that invalidated a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act requiring federal approval of election law changes in areas with a history of voter discrimination. The next step will be to encourage members of congress to sign on to H.J. Resoltuion 34, which would amend the constitution and allow congress to develop a national election system.
Fitzgerald, along with county council president John DeFazio also committed to passing a resolution in support of the amendment.
"This was brought to our attention in many ways a couple of years ago when our state legislature tried to suppress the vote and deny people's right to vote," Fitzgerald said.
Pennsylvania was one of at least 25 states who in the past few years proposed legislation requiring people to present photo identification when voting or expanding established voter ID laws. The local law was passed in 2012 but later struck down in January 2014.