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GOP May Strip Norton of Right to Vote on House Floor

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton will lose her ability to vote on the House floor in January, according to a draft of the new GOP House Rules released Wednesday.

But Washington, D.C., voting rights advocates are still holding out hope that they can prevent the rule stripping the D.C. Democrat of her vote in the Committee of the Whole from being adopted.

DC Vote and 23 other advocacy groups, including the D.C. Republican Committee, sent a letter to Speaker-designate John Boehner on Wednesday afternoon asking the Ohio Republican to reconsider. The vote, they noted, has been held to be constitutional by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals.

“It is the only voice D.C. residents have in Congress,” the letter read. “To law-abiding citizens of the District, revoking the delegate vote would add insult to injury and dishonor those among them who have shed blood for their country.”

But Republican leadership holds another view of the vote’s constitutionality, according to a GOP transition committee spokesman.

“It’s our view, and that of the Constitution, that only Members of the House are eligible to vote in the House,” Brendan Buck said in a statement. “In every meaningful way, the Committee of the Whole is the same as the full House, and therefore voting should be reserved for Members.”

Norton sent a similar letter to Boehner in November, asking him not to take her vote away.

The rule would also deny delegates from the territories to vote in the committee.

Norton could not immediately be reached for comment.

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