Democrats heading to the polls Tuesday for the District’s presidential primary will participate in an odd ritual: They’ll vote, but the results won’t matter. The party’s intensely fought battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is over — decided last week, when Clinton racked up enough victories across the country to secure her party’s nomination. The city’s inconsequential status is largely a function of its dead-last place on the primary calendar, something Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) says she wants to change for future presidential contests. But that feeling of futility and sense of invisibility go beyond presidential primaries: They underscore the civic experience in the District, residents say.
Despite the fact that more people live in the District than in Vermont or Wyoming, the city has no voting representation on Capitol Hill. Residents elect “shadow” senators and a “shadow” representative, who have no seats in either chamber, and a delegate who does get a seat but not a vote. D.C. voters approve ballot measures concerning local matters, only to see Congress occasionally nullify their vote.
“D.C. is the last colony, as I like to say. We’re always forgotten. We’ve had taxation without representation for so long — this election is just another example,” agreed Denise Woodson, a 45-year-old social worker who added that she had to dig deep to summon the will to participate in early voting last week after it was clear that Clinton had already won.