Backing for D.C. Voting

Posted July 8, 2005 at 4:53pm

Following a resolution passed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly last week calling for equal Congressional voting rights for residents of the District of Columbia, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) on Thursday released a “Dear Colleague” letter to Republican House Members urging them to support his plan to give Washington, D.C., a vote in the House and Senate.

“Once again the U.S. has been internationally embarrassed for failing to address a lack of democracy in our own country,” Rohrabacher wrote. “This Tuesday’s vote … is only the latest episode in which an international human rights organization has drawn attention to our democratic deficiency of continuing to deny equal representation in Congress to the residents of our Nation’s Capital.”

[IMGCAP(1)]Rohrabacher’s bill, The District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act, would allow Washington residents to run for and be elected to federal office, including the House and Senate, through Maryland, as they did for the first 10 years of the District’s existence.

“Solving this problem does not require approving D.C. statehood or anything else that would grant two new U.S. Senators to the District of Columbia,” Rohrabacher wrote. “All that is required is to restore the federal voting rights residents had in Maryland before they were taken away by Congress in 1800.”

To provide partisan balance to the District becoming its own Congressional district in the House, Rohrabacher also plans to temporarily expand the House to 437 Members by granting an additional Representative to Utah, which barely missed gaining a fourth district in the 2000 Census, until the next reapportionment.