Federalism And Federalism

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Federalism plays a large role into the lives of everyday Americans. One key policy issue which has long been pulled between the federal and state powers is the issue of voting rights. This is currently a very hot subject has the laws behind who can vote are continuing to be shaped within federal and state courts through new voter identification laws. The purpose of this paper will be to first present how the current voting laws have been developed through federalism. In the context of historical background it will also provide valuable understanding of this policy issue to break down the idea of voting rights through a detailed analysis of the Constitution. Through looking closely at the Constitution it will become evident how the voting laws …show more content…
The first major amendment which sparked a series in changes within the voting rights was the thirteenth amendment, this amendment abolished slavery which in turn provided former slaves with freedom (Grofman et. al 8). Then when the fourteenth amendment was ratified in 1868 it completely changed the Constitution not just the voting rights. This amendment established what qualified a person to be considered a United States citizen. The amendment was created to eliminate the three-fifths rule originally established in the Constitution in order to provide former slaves and people of color with full citizenship rights; along with any person that is born in the United States. The amendment also established that a state could not deny the right to vote to a male citizen who was at least twenty-one years of age. A year after the ratification of fourteenth amendment the United States Congress passed and ratified the fifteenth amendment. This addition to the Constitution provided all citizens of the United States the right to vote and the right could not be denied based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” (Kozak 171-177). The fourteenth amendment allowed all people of color to be considered as citizen so that the fifteenth amendment could provide them the right to …show more content…
Though states have tried time and time again to use their rights to maintain individual laws the federal government through amendments and Supreme Court decisions has shown a clear stronger hand in deciding on this policy issue. However the pull between the states control on voting laws still continues today. The very current topic involving the rights of voting is the issue of states’ individual voter identification laws. As explained in the literature presented by the United States Government Accountability Office, “Congress has addressed major functional areas in the voting process, such as voter registration. However, the responsibility for administration of state and federal elections resides in the state level” (Gambler et. al 3). The new issue is still currently being shaped by state legislation and Supreme Court rulings. In 2006 the Voting Rights Act. In the renewal of this act Section 5 was altered but not removed, despite many claiming that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act overstepping the bounds of federalism since it requires federal approval before a state can change a state law on voting (Karlan 6). The dissatisfaction with parts of the Voting Rights Act was seen on a federal level when the case Shelby County v. Holder was read by the Supreme Court in 2013. The Court

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