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DC Voting Rights

Taxation Without Representation in Washington, DC

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DC Voting Rights
© Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Did you know that more than half a million Americans live in Washington DC and do not have congressional voting rights? That’s right, DC was established by our forefathers as a federal district to be governed by Congress and residents of our nation's capital do not have democratic representation in the U. S. Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives. People who live in DC pay the second highest per capita federal income taxes in the country but have no vote on how the federal government spends their tax dollars and no vote on important issues such as health care, education, Social Security, environmental protection, crime control, public safety and foreign policy.

An amendment to the Constitution needs to be passed to give DC voting rights. Congress has passed laws to modify the DC government structure in the past. In 1961, the 23rd Constitutional amendment granted DC residents the right to vote in Presidential elections. In 1973, Congress passed the District of Columbia Home Rule Act giving DC the right to a local government (mayor and city council). For decades DC residents have written letters, protested, and filed lawsuits striving to change the city’s voting status. Unfortunately, to date they have been unsuccessful.

What Can You Do to Help?

  • Call the White House comment line at (202) 456-1111 and let the President know that you support the DC Voting Rights Act

  • Contact a member of Congress and tell them to pass the DC Voting Rights Act

  • Pass the Word

For more information on this issue, see DC Vote

Read also, DC Government 101 - Things to Know About DC Laws, Officials, Agencies and More

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