When libertarians discuss the 10th and 26th amendments to the Constitution on Facebook, it is like a real live C-SPAN show come to life. This stuff is jazzy to me.

So, did Rep. Justin Amash, Republican from the State of Michigan, vote on Friday night to allow people who are not here lawfully to vote in San Fransisco?

No.

Yet if any state or county or city votes to allow that, he sees no issue with it. That is a bit problematic in my view, which I shall now explain.

On Friday night, I happened to check into the cesspool of humanity that we lovingly call Twitter. I saw an article by someone screaming that the Democrats had voted down an amendment to prevent noncitizens from voting. The rant included the comment that Justin Amash was the lone R vote to vote against this. After checking the roll call vote HERE I did confirm that Rep. Amash was the only “R” to vote no against this motion.

So I did what any red-blooded American guy would do on a Friday night. I sent a tweet to Representative Amash asking for clarification and here was his response.

I followed up on this but it was late at night at no response was given which is understandable. Having followed Amash for close to 10 years I know he has no issue explaining his vote publicly and has been very consistent on posting and clarifying why he casts each vote the way he does.

He does not support people here unlawfully voting in a federal election but down the line is ok IF approved by the state, county or local powers that be. That creates a multi-tier system for voting requirements that is an Articles of Confederation mess waiting to happen. If you don’t know about the Articles of Confederation stop reading this, go google what happened between the time we won the war with Great Britain and the 12 years before we passed the Constitution.

I’m not joking, go do it now and come back.

Now here is the actual Motion to Recommit H.R. 1 from Representative Dan Crenshaw from Texas — which is what Justin Amash voted no to — so you have context.

MOTION TO RECOMMIT H.R. 1

H.R. 1 to the Committee on the Judiciary with instructions to report the same to the House forthwith with the
following amendment:
Add, at the end of the bill, the following (and conform the table of contents accordingly):
1 DIVISION D—UPHOLDING
2 SUFFRAGE IN AMERICA
3 TITLE XI—UPHOLDING
4 SUFFRAGE IN AMERICA
5 SEC. 11001. SHORT TITLE.
6 This division may be cited as the ‘‘Upholding Suf7 frage in America Act’’ or the ‘‘USA Act’’.
8 SEC. 11002. FINDINGS.

9 Congress finds as follows:

10 (1) Voting is fundamental to a functioning democracy.

12 (2) The Constitution prohibits discrimination in

13 voting based on race, sex, poll taxes, and age.

1 (3) It is of paramount importance that the
2 The United States maintains the legitimacy of its elections and protects them from interference, including
4 interference from foreign threats and illegal voting.

5 (4) The city of San Francisco, California, is allowing non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, to
7 register to vote in school board elections.

8 (5) Federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in elections for Federal office.

10 SEC. 11003. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

11 It is the sense of Congress that allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens.

So his tweet is correct. He did not vote to give anyone here unlawfully the right to vote. The people writing these headlines or blasting those tweets are simply dead wrong.

What Crenshaw is asking for here is that the bill be sent back to be “tuned up” and a sense of Congress add on (just getting everyone on record) that says we don’t think people here unlawfully should be allowed to vote in this country. He singles out San Fransisco in this motion. The last part, from what I have been able to gather, is the part that Amash has taken issue with. He sees this as the Feds overstepping their role of dictating to the states how to run their elections.

I have absolutely ZERO problems with that being anyone’s default position. I wish that we had more people taking that stance. The national government has gotten a bit too big for its britches and that is not a grand thing at all.

I caught up with Rep. Amash and engaged with him and some of the people who support his vote on this over at a mutual friend’s Facebook page and he further explained his position. The premise that Amash holds is that the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the Feds from laying out a uniform standard for voting in anything other than federal elections.

Here is what the 10th Amendment, which was passed in 1791 says…

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In my discussion with the Congressman, I argue that the
26th Amendment calls for only citizens being allowed to vote in the United States.

Section 1

The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2

The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

With that backdrop here is part of the conversation with Congressman Justin Amash grabbed from Facebook. (Screenshot below.)

Justin Amash:

Thomas, the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments are floors, not ceilings, under our Constitution

Thomas LaDuke:

Justin Amash would not then the “floor” of the 26th be that you need to be a citizen of the United States to vote? Those “citizens” shall not be denied the right to vote.

Justin Amash:

Thomas, the Constitution stipulates only that a government cannot deny such a person the vote (hence, a floor). It does not speak to the power of state or local governments to extend that privilege further. Saying someone *needs* to be something is a ceiling; that’s not what these provisions do

As I said above, Rep. Amash is willing to engage with the public. He not only answered my questions but 7 or 8 others who were questioning this vote which we all should appreciate.

Now here is my issue.

The Consitution is a guideline of how to make 13 colonies or 50 states play nice. Under the idea of the 10th Amendment, a provision that does not allow a uniform system of declaring you must be a citizen to vote in the United States was taken care of by the 26th. The very same system that allowed the Bill of Rights to be passed nearly 2 years after the Consitution was ratified also allowed the very same process to amend the document in 1971.

I am sincerely at a loss as to how …

Section 1

The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

means that noncitizens can vote because a state or a city feels like it is the route they want to go.

This clearly states citizens can vote. CITIZEN is the key word here. The argument that the 10th amendment does not allow for any other amendment to clarify the peoples will through the process of passing amendments to the Consitution is at best short-sighted and at its worst, just plain silly.

Under the path that the arguments above take, we could have 4 different sets of requirements to register and vote in the country. As a libertarian, I’m not in love with the idea of giving all levels of government more responsibility to screw up the one thing that we all that are lucky enough to have in The United States of America.

The right to vote.

That the dunderheads in California want to exacerbate their failed ideas should not in any way affect the rest of the country in voting. The frightening idea of allowing anyone to sneak into this country and to migrate to states to vote and possibly changing the outcomes of elections on all levels is astoundingly naive. This coupled with the idea of altering the way that the electoral college is used to award electors in the Presidential races via the National Popular Vote measure, makes me wonder how hard people are actually looking at these issues.

Having said all that, I wish we had 100 more Justin Amash’s in the Congress. He is willing to take the time, look at these issues and give his take and engage. Plus, he has never said he was worried that Guam might tip over or that we had to pass something to see what was in it.

Even though I disagree with him here, I still respect his forthrightness.

Let’s keep our republic The United States of America and not the United Conglomeration of Municipalities that will screw up our cherished right to vote.

The first one has worked pretty well for a while.

Check out my other post on The Rich Flee New York And Gov. Cuomo Sends The Tax Man After Them. and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks   plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2