Over the years, District of Columbia residents have fought and died in ten wars, been subject to federal laws, and paid billions in federal taxes. Despite all this, they're still denied voting representation in Congress. Representative Tom Davis (R-Virginia) wants to change that. He's proposed a partial solution to the confounding situation. Under Davis' DC Fairness in Representation Act, the mostly Democratic capital city would get a vote in the House, and, as a concession to the GOP, the Republican stronghold of Utah would be granted a fourth seat. According to the Washington Post, 'This should be a win-win.'
Rep. Davis touts his plan in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette editorial: 'The beauty of this solution is its political neutrality,' he writes, '. . .neither party gains any advantage.' The bill would temporarily increase the size of the House by two seats, most likely one Democrat and one Republican. After the 2010 census, DC would keep its seat, and the other seats would be divvied accordingly. DC would still be without a voice in the Senate.
Writing in Human Events, Jack Kemp highlights the bipartisan backing for full DC voting rights. Kemp cites a poll finding 82 percent of Americans think DC residents deserve voting representation in Congress. Poll support transcended party distinctions with 87 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans in favor. Kemp also lists notable conservatives Bob Dole, Richard Nixon, Barry Goldwater, and Prescott Bush (grandfather of our current president) as DC voting rights proponents.
DC Vote, a group lobbying for voting rights, issued a press release honoring the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist who in 1970, while serving as the US Assistant Attorney General, expressed his stance on the issue of democracy in DC: 'The need for an amendment [providing representation for the District] at this late date in our history is too self-evident for further elaboration; continued denial of voting representation from the District of Columbia can no longer be justified.'
Just think of it this way: There are enlisted District of Columbia residents fighting overseas so that democracy can succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet those same soldiers lack full legislative representation in their hometown, the capital of the oldest democracy in the world. Go figure.
Go there >> A Vote in the House
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