Today, nearly five million Americans are treated as second-class citizens, denied full voting rights and representation in the national government simply because they live in U.S. Territories or the District of Columbia. The political realities in these “non-state” areas have fundamentally changed since the Constitution was ratified in 1788—the Territories were never meant to be quasi-permanent colonies and the District was not expected to be a major metropolitan city. This Article proposes a voting rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would bring the twentyfirst century realities facing Americans in non-state areas in accordance with America’s most fundamental constitutional principles and democratic values.

The Author begins by examining both the historical and modern understandings of representation in the national government. A foundational American principle is that federally elected officials represent “We the People of the United States,” not We the People of the States United. The Author traces this principle through relevant caselaw and the expansion of voting rights through previous amendments to the U.S. Constitution. To realize this principle in non-state areas, the Author proposes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment would most notably include full participation in presidential elections, and representation in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Author reasons this amendment would bring emerging political opportunities for either party, and ultimately would effectuate the meaning of the U.S. Constitution—“We the People of the United States.”