DC vote could send a message to Congress in uphill battle for statehood

Washington Examiner | 7/24/2004 | Kyle Feldscher
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D.C. residents are being asked to send a message to Congress on Tuesday that it's time for the nation's capital to become the 51st state.

Referendum B on D.C. statehood is the first time since 1982 that voters will be asked to approve a referendum on whether the District of Columbia should become a state. The referendum serves as a message to Congress that D.C. residents want the full rights and privileges of the states.

Elinor - Hart - Project - Director - New

Elinor Hart, project director for New Columbia Vision, said Friday that Washingtonians need to have proper representation in Congress. That starts Tuesday, she said.

"It will say we have expressed ourselves in the 21st century," she said. "As [D.C. Del.] Eleanor Holmes Norton says, we'll never get statehood unless people know we want it. We have to let people know we want it, and I think this will do that."

Referendum - DC - Council - Congress - State

If approved, the referendum would allow the D.C. Council to petition Congress to create the state of Washington, D.C., approve a state constitution and approve the proposed state's new boundaries.

The proposed boundaries shrink the federally administered District of Columbia that is required in the Constitution to just government buildings and the National Mall. The rest of the current district, all the residential areas, would become a state.

Article - Constitution - Congress - Power - Affairs

Under Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress alone has the power over legislative affairs of the federal district encompassing the seat of government. Twelve years after the Constitution was ratified, that district became Washington, D.C.

Becoming a state would allow D.C. votes in Congress for the first time in the city's history. Currently, the district has a non-voting delegate and a shadow senator representing its residents. Becoming a state would allow Washingtonians to have one voting member in the House and two senators.

Congress - Law

However, Congress would need to pass a law approving the...
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