The Federal Government is restricted in the regulation of voting rights due to the powers enumerated under Article 1 of the US Constitution and the Federalist papers but, is given freedom under the Elastic clause. The tenth amendment states that all powers not delegated to the Federal government nor prohibited to the states are reserved for the states. This gives limited power to the national government regarding anything because as Roger Pilon, writer of The Doctrine of Enumerated Powers states, the Constitution is very specific on what the federal government can do to provide for and protect the county.
He writes, “Congress has no legislative powers except those that were “herein granted”—powers that are limited to those that are enumerated in the document.” Even when being written, there was a debate on the interpretation of the Constitution between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. They foresaw that their American issues would not be the same and disagreed on how they should be interpreted for future generations.
Pilon writes, “the Declarations self-evident truths begin by assuming we are all equal, at least in having equal rights…” Our founding fathers understood that even if all Americans did have the same rights, this does not mean all people are the same. Different states have unique needs and circumstances and to have all-encompassing laws on voting rights would fit some, but not all. The federal government’s job is to secure rights but, it is up to the states to figure out how to enforce them to best meet their citizen’s needs.
This is mentioned by Pilon when he says, “The main purpose of government is to secure our liberty by securing our rights.”
Even though the United States is very limited in the authority they have on voting rights, they have made changes based on the Elastic Clause of the US Constitution in Section 8. It says, “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers.” This allowed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to be made based on the excruciating needs of the American people. As aforementioned, the government’s job is to secure the rights of the people and at this time African Americans were being denied their right to vote as specified in the 15th amendment. To defend this right, president Lyndon B Johnson took advantage of the implied powers by banning the use of literacy tests and poll taxes. This does not infringe on the rights of States because the States were infringing on the rights of their citizens which goes against the Constitution’s enumerated powers that come with, “the Consent of the Governed.” The people made the government and if it is not doing the job it was meant to do, they are allowed to change it.