Dec. 18, 2004 – The Green Party today warned that states could lose political representation at the national level if segments of their voting populations are disenfranchised. Citing a clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, a Party spokesperson said that the US Constitution mandates penalties for voter obstruction.
"If legitimate voters have been disenfranchised in any state, the Constitution requires that the state's representation be reduced," said Asa Gordon, chair of the DC Statehood Green Party's Electoral College Task Force and member of the party's national Black Caucus. "If it can be shown that a class of legitimate voters were obstructed from voting or having their votes counted in Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, or any other state, then that state may lose one or more of its allotted Electoral College votes." Gordon also serves as executive director of the Douglass Institute of Government.
The Green Party said the number of congressional representatives would be at stake as well.
The Fourteenth Amendment phrase in question reads: "...[W]hen the right to vote... is denied... or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens... in such State."
Through a series of public hearings and written reports, democracy advocates have compiled a litany of complaints about voter disenfranchisement and suppression. In one such report, the watchdog coalition Election Protection detailed long lines and problems with voter registrations, absentee ballots, provisional ballots and voting machines plagued polling places throughout the country, disproportionately affecting urban and minority voters.