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Declare Independence: Let Washington Vote!

by Adam Fogel // Published July 1, 2008
This 4th of July, as we celebrate America's independence by grilling out and watching fireworks with friends, we should take a minute to reflect on what it really means to be an American. Being an American is about freedom, liberty and having a system of government by and for the people. In our representative democracy, we entrust our elected members of Congress with a most sacred and fundamental duty--to represent the will of the people. As citizens vote for their member of Congress in the 50 states every two years, they take for granted the fact that they have representation in the federal legislature. They expect their member of Congress to represent their issues, advocate for their district and vote their conscience. However, over 600,000 people living in Washington, DC who serve in the military, sit on juries and pay taxes have no voting member in Congress.

Giving Washington, DC a voting member takes nothing more than a simple act of Congress. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch lays out the constitutional arguments in favor of the District of Columbia Voting Rights Act of 2007 in the latest edition of the Harvard Journal on Legislation. Senator Hatch, along with Senator Lieberman (I-CT), Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) and The District's nonvoting delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) have been Congressional leaders in the fight to give DC's citizens fair representation in Congress. The bill passed the House last year, but it is being held up by a minority of Senators who refuse to give this bill an up-or-down vote. The White House has also threatened to veto this voting rights legislation. You can find out if your Senator is holding up this important legislation by visiting our friends at DC Vote.

If you're going to be in Washington, DC this Friday, march for DC Voting Rights at the Palisades Parade:

Join your fellow supporters and help us educate others about DC's denial of democracy at the Palisades Parade on the 4th of July. We will have extra stickers and t-shirts, but wear your "Taxation Without Representation" t-shirt if you already have one. Please e-mail Kaitlan at [email protected] with questions or to RSVP.

Palisades Parade Meet at 10:15 AM at the intersection of Whitehaven Parkway and MacArthur Boulevard, NW Parade begins at 11:00 AM and proceeds north up MacArthur Boulevard to Palisades Park