District of Columbia

Articles about voting issues in The District of Columbia.

District of Columbia: Dead last — again — among U.S. primaries, D.C. Democrats chafe at a trivial vote | The Washington Post

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.

Full Article: Dead last — again — among U.S. primaries, D.C. Democrats chafe at a trivial vote - The Washington Post.

District of Columbia: New Columbia? Washington DC sees new hope in fight for statehood | The Guardian

The leading contender is New Columbia, but that has associations with Christopher Columbus some would question. Other options include Anacostia or Potomac. Or how about Douglass Commonwealth – conveniently DC – after the abolitionist Frederick Douglass? The debate over what to call America’s hypothetical 51st state is just one of the thorny issues facing campaigners as they strive to correct what they claim is a long historical injustice unique among capital cities around the world. The effort to gain statehood for Washington, District of Columbia, received a boost on Thursday when the Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders reaffirmed his support. “I hope that the next time I’m back we’re going to be talking about the state of Washington DC,” he said to cheers at a rally ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Hillary Clinton has also endorsed the plan, although the fact that Washington’s Democratic primary is the last in the country, and a “dead rubber” now that Clinton is certain of victory, could be seen as symbolic of how one city deeply underrepresented in Washington politics is Washington itself. It was not until 1964 that residents of DC could even vote for president.

Full Article: New Columbia? Washington DC sees new hope in fight for statehood | US news | The Guardian.

District of Columbia: Clinton calls for making DC the 51st state | The Washington Post

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton called for making the nation’s capital the country’s 51st state on Wednesday, promising to be a “vocal champion” for D.C. statehood. She blasted presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for failing to say whether D.C. residents should have the same voting rights as other Americans. “In the case of our nation’s capital, we have an entire populace that is routinely denied a voice in its own democracy. . . . Washingtonians serve in the military, serve on juries, and pay taxes just like everyone else. And yet, they don’t even have a vote in Congress,” Clinton wrote in an op-ed published in the Washington Informer, an African American weekly newspaper.

Full Article: Clinton vows to be D.C. statehood ‘champion,’ blasts Trump for lack of position on voting rights - The Washington Post.

District of Columbia: Kasich on D.C. voting rights: ‘That’s just more votes in the Democratic Party.’ | The Washington Post

When asked his position on D.C. voting rights, Republican presidential contender John Kasich didn’t pretend to draw on any constitutional clause or existing law to explain his stance against it. Instead, the Ohio governor stated the political reason that many already perceive as the biggest obstacle standing between D.C. and congressional voting representation: Giving D.C. voting representatives in Congress would mean more Democrats in Congress. “What it really gets down to if you want to be honest is because they know that’s just more votes in the Democratic Party,” Kasich said Wednesday during an interview with The Washington Post editorial board.

Full Article: Kasich on D.C. voting rights: ‘That’s just more votes in the Democratic Party.’ - The Washington Post.

District of Columbia: Mayor calls for citywide vote to make nation’s capital the 51st state | The Washington Post

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser on Friday called for a citywide vote in November on making the nation’s capital the 51st state, resurrecting a decades-old plan to thrust the issue before Congress and raise awareness across the country about District residents’ lack of full citizenship. “I propose we take another bold step toward democracy in the District of Columbia,” Bowser (D) said at a breakfast attracting hundreds of city residents, Democratic members of Congress and civil rights leaders marking the 154th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves in the nation’s capital. “It’s going to require that we send a bold message to the Congress and the rest of the country that we demand not only a vote in the House of Representatives,” she said. “We demand two senators — the full rights of citizenship in this great nation.” The mayor’s announcement appeared poised to ratchet up tension between the District’s Democratic majority and its federal overseers in a Republican-controlled Congress.

Full Article: D.C. mayor calls for citywide vote to make nation’s capital the 51st state - The Washington Post.

District of Columbia: Sanders likely on D.C. ballot despite challenge | CNN

Anita Bonds, chairwoman of the Washington, D.C. Democratic Party, said Wednesday she was confident presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would appear on the primary ballot, despite a challenge filed with the city’s Board of Elections. “Bernie will be on the ballot,” Bonds told CNN. Her comments come after NBC 4 in Washington reported the local Democratic Party filed paperwork for Sanders a day late to the Washington Board of Elections and a challenge was filed against Sanders. It’s the first time Bond said she has heard of a candidate being challenged. But the Sanders campaign also said it was confident he would appear on the ballot.

Full Article: Sanders likely on D.C. ballot despite challenge - CNNPolitics.com.

District of Columbia: Merrick Garland and D.C. politics: His role in voting rights | The Washington Post

When President Obama announced Wednesday that he would nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) held her applause. Norton, the District’s non-voting representative in Congress, has long been one of the city’s chief proponents for voting representation in Congress — and Garland ruled in a landmark case on the issue in 2000 that the residents of the city do not have the constitutional right to such representation. The Supreme Court later affirmed that decision, although it did not hear oral arguments in the case. “Norton and other officials and residents were deeply disappointed with the decision, even though they realized that the case was one of first impression,” a Wednesday statement from Norton’s office read. “Norton has not yet had the opportunity to look into Judge Garland’s 19-year record on the federal court and before, but she said that especially considering that the District has no senators, she believes that the Senate must fulfill its constitutional obligation to give Judge Garland a fair hearing so that he may be questioned about the D.C. case and the rest of his record.” Garland, who is the chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and is widely considered to be a moderate, was part of a three-judge federal panel to preside over the Alexander v. Daley case in March 2000.

Full Article: Merrick Garland and D.C. politics: His role in voting rights and Marion Barry’s imprisonment - The Washington Post.

District of Columbia: Is The Board Of Elections Legit? Do The 2014 Elections Count? Judge Declines To Rule | DCist

It’s still up in the air whether D.C. residents will get the chance to vote for a ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour—D.C. Superior Court Judge Maurice Ross declined to make a final ruling in court today. But that’s not all that a lawsuit brought by Harry Wingo, then the head of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, called into question. By charging that the D.C. Board of Elections wasn’t “properly constituted” when it approved of the ballot initiative’s language, the lawsuit in effect muddies the waters for all the BOE’s decisions during 2014, including the election of Mayor Muriel Bowser, Initiative 71, and more.

Full Article: Is The Board Of Elections Legit? Do The 2014 Elections Count? Judge Declines To Rule Today: DCist.

District of Columbia: Why D.C.’s troubled election board couldn’t get a grip on its finances | The Washington Post

The acting chair of the District’s troubled Board of Elections told the D.C. Council that she had no idea her agency had federal funds to spend on new voting equipment — even as it sought city money for that purpose — because board members are only “volunteers.” In fact, the federal government gave the District $18 million to upgrade its election process, and the board spent nearly $15 million of it, according to expenditure reports filed with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. But acting chair Deborah Nichols told the D.C. Council’s Judiciary Committee that board members asked for city funds for voting machines at the same time her agency spent millions of federal dollars on other election-related needs because they were in the dark about finances. She said board members “are not even considered part-time” and rely on the agency’s executive director for information.

Full Article: Why D.C.’s troubled election board couldn’t get a grip on its finances - The Washington Post.

District of Columbia: Old machines and missing dollars. Is D.C. ready for an election? | The Washington Post

Elections in the District have been handicapped by faulty voting machines, inadequate polling staff, inaccessible polling stations and delays in vote tallying. And yet it is unclear whether any of those problems will have been remedied by the time the District holds its next major election in six months. These are the concerns held by D.C. Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie and a handful of other close observers of the city’s election process who say the D.C. Board of Elections appears to have made no clear progress toward fixing its long-standing problems ahead of the June ­primary contests or addressed how the board has managed millions of dollars in federal funds. As of last week, a full month after board members testified before the D.C. Council that they were unaware of how much new voting machines would cost, the board still had not determined whether it can afford to purchase new ones or whether it will lease them. The potential lengthiness of the city’s procurement process also raises the question of ­whether the board will have enough time to test the machines and train election workers, if it does acquire new ones.

Full Article: Old machines and missing dollars. Is D.C. ready for an election? - The Washington Post.

District of Columbia: No Leader, Old Voting Machines: D.C.’s Election Agency Faces Multiple Challenges | WAMU

With only seven months left until D.C. voters cast ballots in the 2016 primary, the agency in charge of running the city’s elections remains without top leadership — and on Wednesday struggled to explain whether it has the money to buy new voting machines it says it needs. The issues were at the forefront of a hearing in a D.C. Council committee, where Council member Kenyan McDuffie expressed frustration with the challenges facing the D.C. Board of Elections as the city enters an election year. “This is too precarious a situation,” McDuffie said. “I remain concerned about the board’s direction.” Some of the issues aren’t new, and in the past have resulted in technical glitches that delayed the reporting of election results — most recently in the April 2014 mayoral primary. But one board-watcher said Wednesday that they may be getting worse.

Full Article: No Leader, Old Voting Machines: D.C.'s Election Agency Faces Multiple Challenges | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio.

District of Columbia: D.C.’s 16- and 17-year-olds are eager to vote for president. But should they? | The Washington Post

Theo Shoag knows all of the reasons people think the voting age shouldn’t be lowered to 16. He just doesn’t think any of them are valid. So the 16-year-old Capitol Hill resident says he was “super excited” when he learned that D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) introduced a bill this month that would give 16- and 17-year-olds in the District the right to vote in city and federal elections. If it’s approved, they would become the first Americans of their age who could vote for president in 2016. “I’m really passionate about this, and I’m going to work to make sure this happens,” said Shoag, a junior at Washington Latin Public Charter School who sees political engagement as a responsibility. He serves as the D.C. representative of Youth for National Change, an advocacy organization. “When you vote as a young person, that gets you in the mind-set for voting later in life, and that’s something crucial that this nation needs.”

Full Article: D.C.’s 16- and 17-year-olds are eager to vote for president. But should they? - The Washington Post.

District of Columbia: DC is Latest Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization Member | Huffington Post

At its 20th session in Brussels, Belgium, UNPO formally voted to accept the Nation’s Capital as a new member. The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is an international, nonviolent and democratic membership organization. Its members are indigenous peoples, minorities and unrecognized or occupied territories who have joined together to protect and promote their human and cultural rights, to preserve their environments and to find nonviolent solutions to conflicts which affect them. The UNPO Presidency considered the application of the District of Columbia, alongside that of two other prospective members. Only the DC application met the formal requirements for membership. In recognition of its lack of self-determination, lack of voting representation in the national legislature, and potential unequal weight in Presidential elections, the District of Columbia was admitted as a member of UNPO through a vote by the Presidency Members. The UNPO found that the struggle for equal political representation in the Nation’s Capital clearly qualifies DC as an unrepresented territory.

District of Columbia: Bill Aims to Lower Voting Age | The Hoya

District of Columbia Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) has introduced a bill that would lower the voting age from 18 to 16 for municipal and federal elections held in Washington, D.C. Councilmembers David Grosso (I-At Large) and Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) are co-sponsoring the bill. Even if the council passes the measure, Congress must approve it before implementation. If successful, D.C. would join Takoma Park, Md., and Hyattsville, Md., as the third city in the area to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections, but the first to allow them to vote in federal elections. Allen explained that despite original reservations, he became more receptive to the idea after hearing from community members about the maturity of 16- and 17-year-olds. Those lobbying for the bill also expressed a desire to reconnect younger people with city politics after the District experienced a rise in youth violence this summer.

Full Article: Bill Aims to Lower Voting Age.

District of Columbia: 16-year-olds in D.C. could vote for president in 2016, under proposal | The Washington Post

The District has legalized marijuana. Its city council is poised to give new parents 16 weeks of paid leave. And before lawmakers seal the deal on that progressive plan, a trio of council members on Tuesday introduced another idea that could make waves nationally: letting 16-year-olds vote. It’s not unheard of. Sixteen-year-olds have been allowed to vote in municipal elections for two years in Takoma Park, Md., a liberal suburb of the District. And in San Francisco, lawmakers are eyeing a voter referendum next year to decide on lowering the voting age for local and state elections. But under the proposal in Washington, the nation’s capital would go further than any state or municipality by allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in federal elections.

District of Columbia: With Elections Looming, Head Of D.C. Elections Board Announces Departure | WAMU

The head of the D.C. Board of Elections is departing the agency charged with managing the city’s voter rolls and elections, leaving just as preparations ramp up for an upcoming election year that will feature both local races and the presidential contest. Clifford Tatum, who took over the elections board in October 2011, is heading to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, where he will serve as general counsel. The commission was created in the wake of the contested 2000 presidential election, and provides technical information and assistance to state and local election administrators. Since Tatum took the helm of the elections board, he’s managed elections every year: two primaries, two general elections and four special elections. He also oversaw a controversial change in the city’s primary date from September to April; in 2016 it will move to June.

Full Article: With Elections Looming, Head Of D.C. Elections Board Announces Departure | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio.

District of Columbia: What Exactly Does ‘Statehood or Else’ Mean? | Washington City Paper

“Let them have gun laws! Let them have weed! Let them decide the things that they need!” You may remember those lyrics from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight segment on D.C. statehood that broadcast in early August. The HBO host brought national attention to an issue that has plagued District residents for centuries: Without full voting representation in Congress, D.C. denizens are largely powerless to advocate for their interests at the federal level. Oliver was able to tap into residents’ frustration over the status quo by appealing to civil rights, and in part thanks to social media; local merriment and momentum ensued. Almost three months later, a campaign spearheaded by At-Large D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange seeking to highlight the issue of D.C. statehood on the national stage may be gaining traction. Called “Statehood or Else,” it proposes to collect one million signatures on a petition that would be delivered to the president, all 535 members of Congress, and party leaders at the Democratic and Republican conventions being held next July in Philadelphia and Cleveland, respectively. The Council’s Committee of the Whole held a public hearing on the measure this morning, during which a few witnesses questioned the outward presentation of the campaign and found an opportunity to call for greater funding for D.C.’s congressional delegation. Still, most speakers present testified that they supported it.

Full Article: What Exactly Does ‘Statehood or Else’ Mean? - City Desk.

District of Columbia: Election Official Says Letting Non-Citizens Vote In D.C. Elections Would Face Hurdles | WAMU

D.C. legislators on Wednesday heard largely favorable testimony for a bill that would allow non-citizen legal residents to vote in local elections, but skeptics — including the head of the city’s election board — expressed concern over the logistics of expanding the franchise to Green Card-holders. Under the measure introduced by Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) earlier this year, D.C. would join Takoma Park, Maryland and a small number of other jurisdictions that allow legal permanent residents to vote in local elections. Grosso’s bill would only require that those residents live in the city for 30 days before being able to cast ballots.

Full Article: Election Official Says Letting Non-Citizens Vote In D.C. Elections Would Face Hurdles | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio.

District of Columbia: DC Statehood Bill a ‘Take That’ to Republicans | Roll Call

Despite the uphill battle for District of Columbia statehood, Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., has reintroduced a statehood bill noting that the District’s unique political status is contrary to the American values celebrated on Independence Day. “These Americans serve in our military, die defending our country, serve on our juries, and pay federal taxes,” Carper said of District residents in a statement. “Yet, despite their civic contributions, they are not afforded a vote in either chamber of Congress. This situation is simply not fair, and it isn’t consistent with the values we celebrate as a country on July 4th every year.”

Full Article: DC Statehood Bill a 'Take That' to Republicans.

District of Columbia: D.C., other cities debate whether legal immigrants should have voting rights | The Washington Post

David Nolan and Helen Searls are a professional couple in the District, active in their children’s school and local civic associations. As taxpayers and longtime residents, they feel they have a duty to be involved in public life. But as legal immigrants who have not become U.S. citizens, they have no right to vote — even in local elections. “It’s frustrating at election time to have no say in what’s happening,” said the British-born Searls, 54, who works at a media company. “Washington has people from all over the world. If they are engaged and participating in public issues, it benefits the city.” Searls and Nolan are among 54,000 immigrants in the District — and about 12 million nationwide — who have been granted green cards that allow them to remain in the United States permanently. Most are sponsored by relatives or employers. They pay taxes and serve in the armed forces. Yet in all but a handful of localities, they have no voting rights. Last month, for the third time in a decade, a bill was introduced in the D.C. Council to allow legal immigrants to vote locally. The measure has little chance of passage, but it is illustrative of a growing movement to expand local voting rights to noncitizens that has spawned similar proposals in several dozen communities across the country.

Full Article: D.C., other cities debate whether legal immigrants should have voting rights - The Washington Post.