League of Women Voters Efforts To Achieve Full Rights for DC Citizens
The League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia, called for full rights for DC citizens shortly after the League was formed.
The League of Women Voters of the United States supported self-government for the District.
The League of Women Voters of the United States advocated the ratification of the 23rd Amendment to provide District citizens the right to vote for the President and Vice President of the United States.
The League supported the right of DC citizens to elect a non-voting Representative to the House of Representatives.
The League supported the DC Self Government and Governmental Reorganization Act that permitted limited home rule and the right of DC residents to elect a mayor and District Council. This action and the 1970 support for the non-voting Representative were viewed as interim steps until full rights could be achieved.
On August 22, the Senate confirmed the House-approved Constitutional Amendment that would have provided full representation for DC citizens. State and local Leagues across the country lobbied hard for ratification. However, when the ratification period expired in 1985, only 16 of the requisite 38 states had ratified the amendment.
Voting representation in both houses of Congress and full home rule were made explicit in the League program.
At the request of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia, the League of Women Voters of the United States agreed that statehood would “afford the same rights of self-government and full voting representation” for citizens of the District as for other U.S. citizens. The League endorsed statehood for DC.
The League of Women Voters of the United States was instrumental in founding the Coalition for DC Voting Representation (now known as DCVote) and today remains a member of DC Vote’s Voting Rights Coalition.
In September, DC League members were among the plaintiffs in a federal suit, Alexander et al. v. Daley et al., challenging the denial of full voting representation for citizens of the District in Congress.
After a 3-judge panel rejected Alexander et al v. Daley et al in March, the case was appealed to the Supreme Court. In September the League of Women Voters of the United States filed an amicus brief. Later that year the Supreme Court rejected voting rights in Congress for District citizens.
In April the LWV of the United States board agreed that the existing position on voting rights also includes support for autonomy for the District in budgeting locally raised revenue and for eliminating the annual congressional DC appropriations budget-approval process.
The League of Women Voters National Convention adopted a concurrence to add support for the “restoration of an annual, predictable federal payment to the District to compensate for revenues denied and expenses incurred because of the federal presence.”
The League of Women Voters supported legislation that would provide an additional seat for Utah in Congress in return for full representation in the House of Representatives for DC citizens.
The League continued to press for passage of the legislation. The LWVUS president traveled to Ohio to meet with Congressional leaders to advocate for their support.
The League of Women Voters Education Fund obtained pass-through grants for 10 states to launch the DC Voting Rights Education Project in which Leagues across the country began work to educate members and local leaders about DC voting rights issues.
Delegates from the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia, presented a resolution to the 2016 LWVUS Convention calling for the League to strongly support statehood for the people of DC, which passed.
The League of Women Voters Education Fund obtained a grant from the District of Columbia that funds a Statehood Toolkit: Fixing the Hole in Our Democracy and train-the-trainer sessions with 5 Leagues across the country.
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