The 15th Amendment says that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." The purpose was simple. After the Civil War, freed slaves were being denied the right to vote, even though they were citizens.
That's where it begins and ends. If you're an American citizen - the key question - you get to have control over the government which you elect. You get to vote.
But, if you're an alien living in the country illegally, you do not get to have control over the government not meant to serve you - and certainly not with the right to vote. The 15th Amendment was never intended to be extended to non-citizens.
Yet while dozens of states require proof of residence with a photo identification in order to vote, far fewer have proof of citizenship laws in place. President Barack Obama is working to make it fewer, under the dubious premise that proof of citizenship abridges 15th Amendment rights - all making it easier than ever for voter fraud by illegal immigrants to take place.
When Kansas, Georgia, and Alabama requested that the National Election Assistance Commission change its registration to include a proof of citizenship for federal election as the states require for those using state forms, the commission refused. Leading to a lawsuit led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Kobach v. United States Election Assistance Commission.
Rather than leaving the issue to the courts, the federal government got immediately involved. The Obama administration immediately backed the Election Assistance Commission and the Justice departments encouraged federal courts to grant preliminary injunctions for anti-proof of citizenship organizations.
As states such as Arizona, Texas, and California experience high illegal immigrant populations, lax voter ID laws requesting only easily attainable forms of photo ID have no safe guard in preventing voter fraud.
While the Supreme Court refused to take up this case last year, California Democrats were able to pass two devastating laws. The first, AP15:061, which automatically registers all eligible California citizens to vote upon receiving a driver's license at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The second, AB60:524, gives illegal immigrants the ability to go to any DMV and receive a valid license. Effectively registering 605,000 undocumented immigrants and changing the entirety of the state's electorate. All the while, these liberal regimes claim laws like the Kansas statute somehow disenfranchise voters.
Now, as the specter of voter fraud looms over the impending election in November, state control over the electoral process is very much in question.
As highlighted by Rick Hasen, a University of California law professor, in his election law blog there is an inherent problem between having a "state form" which conflicts with the demands of the "federal form" when registering. He notes "This is a very big deal. Kobach had the potential to shift more power away from the federal government in administering elections toward the states. This is a huge win for those who want to see a greater federal role and uniformity in elections."
However, this "greater federal role and uniformity in elections" neglects states' constitutional right to control their electoral process.
As New York Times columnist R. Doug Lewis explains "The genius of American democracy is its bottom-up approach to making elections work for its citizens. The voters in Louisiana love their top two candidate's system. Oregon's voters love their vote by mail. Texas voters love early in-person voting. Some states love electronic voting, and other states love paper ballots. The point is that the voters of each state seem to prefer the method of voting that they are used to, which was designed by and for their citizens."
Indeed. But in Democrats' attempt to generate uniformity in the electoral system, illegal immigrants are being allowed and even encouraged to vote in large numbers, a direct violation of the constitutional ownership of government by the citizens of the nation.
Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.