NAACP Urges Passages of DC Voting Rights Bill as it Moves to U.S. Senate Floor

Key Civil Rights Legislation passed House in April Needs Senate approval before seeking Presidents Signature

The Issue:

Despite the fact that they pay federal taxes, serve on juries and defend our Nation in times of war like most other Americans, the residents of the District of Columbia are barred from having voting representation on the floor of the U.S. House or Senate.  This classic example of “taxation without representation” is contrary to everything that this nation is founded on.  This means that more than half a million people, more than 57% of whom are African American (with Caucasians making up just over 30% of the population and 8.5% of the residents claiming Hispanic background), are paying money to and dying for a government in which they have no say.  It also means that the federal government is receiving and spending $4 billion in taxes paid without having to account for it.  In fact, the residents of the District of Columbia pay more federal taxes per capita than all but one other state.

In a key civil rights victory, on April 19, 2007 the US House of Representatives passed, by a bipartisan margin of 241 yeas to 177 nays, H.R. 1905, the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act.  The NAACP strongly supports the bipartisan H.R. 1905, the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act introduced by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) and Congressman Tom Davis (VA) and others as a good first step toward the goal of full voting representation in Congress for DC residents.  H.R. 1905 would add two voting members to the US House of Representatives – one to represent Washington, DC and one to represent Utah (Utah narrowly lost getting an additional congressional seat after the last US Census in 2000; officials in Utah believe that thousands of missionaries living abroad were unfairly excluded during the Census count, which would have given them an additional seat.)  This bill addresses the Utah concern and provides a “vote neutral” option by adding two additional seats to be represented by a Democrat and a Republican. 

We must urge the US Senate to continue the momentum and pass S. 1257, the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2007 when it comes before them on the Senate floor, possibly as soon as Tuesday, September 18, 2007!