Will this be the year that DC residents get the same rights enjoyed by citizens in every state?
President-elect Barack Obama is an original cosponsor of the DC Voting Rights bill, which would turn the city’s congressional delegate, who has limited power, into a full-fledged member of the US House.
Some are hoping Obama will also back measures eventually leading to statehood. The issue could be one of the first legislative initiatives of his presidency, and a test of his commitment to make life better for the district’s 581,000 residents, who on average pay some of the nation’s highest federal income tax bills.
That the title must be a question, rather than a statement, is a result of learned caution on the issue. As usual, the Republicans can be counted on to lobby against the effort – they’ll give a dozen different reasons, but it always boils down to their simple opposition to additional Democratic representation. But this Republican commitment to disenfranchisement shouldn’t let Democrats off the hook. Democrats, as a party, haven’t put nearly enough effort into solving this issue as they should. With control of Congress and the White House, however, there are no more excuses. Make it happen.
More about the issues and legislative efforts at DCVote.org.