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A Real Plan for DC Voting Rights and Home Rule

  • We believe that residents of the District of Columbia should have voting rights in the US Senate and House of Representatives equal to those of all other Americans.
  • We support Maryland-based solutions that provide full voting rights in the House and Senate and real home-rule for the residents of the District of Columbia.
  • Our two-part plan calls for Congress to restore the right of DC residents to vote as part of the Maryland electorate for congressional representation, and to support Washington becoming a new home-rule city in Maryland.

Contact Us

Committee for the Capital City
PO Box 77443
Washington, DC 20013-8443
Editorial, "A Step Forward", the Northwest Current, 05/19/04 PDF Print E-mail
The Current Newspapers
Editorial, May 19, 2004

A Step Forward

Its been nearly a year since Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., raised a novel idea for obtaining a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for the Districts 570,000-plus residents: pairing D.C.s seat with an additional House member for Utah, which narrowly lost out on an extra seat during reapportionment after the 2000 census.

Next month, Rep. Davis is scheduled to hold hearings on various voting-rights bills, as well as his own proposal. Among them is the District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2004, which would restore the right of D.C. residents to participate in Maryland federal elections.

Introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., the bill would permit District residents to vote for two senators, one representative and president as part of the Maryland electorate. It would create two new House seats until the 2010 census one for a new Maryland congressional district comprising D.C., and the other in Utah.

Other approaches would provide the District with full voting rights through different means. A task force appointed by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton suggested creating a D.C. congressional district separate from the Maryland delegation. Members presented a variety of arguments to dispel contentions that the Constitution forbids such an arrangement because it defines the House of Representatives as being selected by people of the several States.

Though the details of the plans and the legal arguments are complex, the underlying premise is not. D.C. residents should not bear the responsibilities of citizenship without enjoying their full rights.

Indeed, the nations capital ought to be a beacon of democracy.

We agree with the 12 members of the D.C. Council who have signed a resolution declaring their support for federal legislation that will create a House seat for the District a way to meaningfully advance the achievement of voting representation in Congress for District residents.

Quite appropriately, the resolution notes that we should not forgo the chance to get something we want and need because it is not everything we deserve.