Our ancestors fought and died to give and protect our right to representative government. A major battle was fought right here in Guilford County. Remember the idea of "No taxation without representation?" Some of us take advantage of that right, some do not possess it.
Many citizens, in fact, a majority of those eligible to vote do not take advantage of the right. Citizens living in DC do not have an option. A member of the US House of Representatives from the District of Columbia (because of the wording in the US Constitution) does not have a vote.
I think this is wrong. Here is some information I have found about the problem and about a bill that has been progressing through the system for some time. The full House of Representatives is set to take up the District of Columbia Voting Rights Act next week. If this legislation is passed it will be another step in the struggle to give every adult US citizen full voting rights. It will be discussed and voted on in the next few weeks. I hope it passes.
The Washington Post reports today that the White House opposes the bill because The Constitution specifies only people of the several states elect representatives to the House; and, DC is not a state.
Full Text of House Bill 5388 is available at the Library of Congress Web Site.
And more information from the League of Women Voters of the US:
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on the Judiciary both approved the DC Voting Rights Act the week of March 12, clearing the way for historic action in the full House of Representatives.
Citizens of the District of Columbia pay U.S. taxes, fight and die for the U.S. during wartime, and are governed by the laws that Congress passes. And yet they have no voting representation in Congress. They have only a non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives.
The “District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act,” sponsored by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D DC) and Representative Tom Davis (R VA), would right this wrong. The legislation provides voting representation in the House for DC citizens by increasing the size of the House by two seats – one for DC and the other for the state of Utah, which is entitled to the next seat by size of population. This balanced approach provides voting rights for District citizens without upsetting the partisan balance of the House.
Americans living in the nation’s capital deserve to have voting representation in the body that makes their laws, taxes them and can call them to war. Only Congress can ensure that the democracy Americans have espoused and fought for across the globe becomes a reality in the nation’s capital.
A basic principle of democracy is at stake. Your Representative needs to hear from you today! Please urge your Representative to support the DC Voting Rights Act.
You can contact your Representative and give him or her your opinion on this bill.
Phone calls are helpful and can be made through the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121.