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District of Columbia Voting Rights: A Research Guide
This guide will help users find current D.C. voting rights legislation, as well as related congressional documents, law review articles, and news coverage.
A voting representative in Congress for the District of Columbia has been proposed and debated throughout the course of this country's history. This Congressional Research Service has issued several reports providing an overview and analysis of the numerous legislative proposals for D.C. voting rights inlcuding the following, which are available on ProQuest Congressional:
Royce Crocker, Cong. Research Serv., RS22579, District of Columbia Representation: Effect on House Apportionment (March 31, 2011)
Eugene Boyd, Cong. Research Serv., IS40292, CRS Issue Statement on District of Columbia Representation and Oversight (Jan. 11, 2010)
Kenneth R. Thomas, Cong. Research Serv., RL33824, The Constitutionality of Awarding the Delegate for the District of Columbia a Vote in the House of Representatives or the Committee of the Whole (March 4, 2009)
Eugene Boyd, Cong. Research Serv., RL33830, District of Columbia Voting Representation in Congress: An Analysis of Legislative Proposals (Jan. 30, 2007)
These bills have been introduced in the House and Senate of the 113th Congress.
District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2013, H.R. 299, 113th Congress (2013) [this bill would allow District of Columbia residents to participate in Congressional and Presidential elections as Maryland residents]
District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2013, H.R. 363, 113th Congress (2013)[this bill would increase House membership from 435 to 436, adding a new seat for the District of Columbia]
Examples of some bills introduced in prior legislative sessions:
District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2011, H.R. 597, 112th Congress (2011)[would allow District of Columbia residents to participate in Congressional and Presidential elections as Maryland residents]
District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2011, H.R. 267, 112th Congress (2011)[would increase House membership from 435 to 436, adding a new seat for the District of Columbia]
These two bills would increase the House membership from 435 to 437 seats, by adding a new seat for the District of Columbia and providing a new seat to the state of Utah.
District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, H.R. 157, 111th Congress (2009)
District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, S. 160, 111th Congress (2009)
For access to documents related to current or previous legislation, such as bills, amendments, and reports, consult Congress.gov, FDsys.gov, or ProQuest Congressional and search for documents from the relevant year or Congress using terms such as "District of Columbia" and "voting" or "voting rights." Sample documents:
District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, 155 Cong. Rec. S2434, daily ed. Feb. 25, 2009, Congressional floor discussion and debate, as published in the daily Congressional Record
District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, H. Rep. No 111-22 (2009), House Committee Report from the Committee on the Judiciary.
The Washington Post: Ongoing news coverage of the current legislation (website registration may be required)
DC Votes: This grassroots organization provides a stream of current media coverage, as well as links to legislation(past and present), research reports and public opinion papers written on DC Voting rights.
Law Review Articles
Numerous law review articles have been written on all sides of the voting rights debate. Here are some recent articles. To conduct a more thorough search of the journal literature, see our guide "Articles for Legal and Non-Legal Research."
- "A Shared Sovereignty Solution to the Conundrum of District of Columbia Congressional Representation," James L.Craig Jr., Howard Law Journal, v.57 (Fall 2013) p.235.
- "The District of Columbia v. The 50 States: A 21st Century Lawsuit to Remedy an 18th Century Injustice," Timothy Cooper, University of District of Columbia Law Review, v. 14 (Spring 2011) p.287.
- "Historical Considerations and Congressional Representation for the District of Columbia: Constitutionality of the D.C. House Voting Rights Bill in Light of Section Two of the Fourteenth Amendment and the History of the Creation of the District," Mark S. Scarberry, vol. 60, no. 4, Alabama Law Review (Summer 2009) p.783.
- "No Right Is More Precious in a Free Country": Allowing Americans in the District of Columbia to Participate in National Self-Government, Hatch, Orrin G., Harvard Journal on Legislation, v. 45 no. 2 (Summer 2008) p. 287.
- Too Clever By Half: The Unconstitutionality of Partial Representation of the District of Columbia in Congress, Jonathan Turley, George Washington Law Review, v. 76 (February 2008) p. 305.
- A Capital Idea: Legislation To Give The District Of Columbia A Vote In The House Of Representatives, Arjun Garg, Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, v. 41, (Fall 2007) p. 1.
- Is There a Constitutional Right to Vote and Be Represented? The Case of the District of Columbia: Symposium, The American University Law Review v. 48 no. 3 (February 1999) p. 589.
- The Constitutional Importance of the District of Columbia: Introduction, Raskin, Jamin B., The American University Law Review v. 48 no. 3 (February 1999) p. 591.
Selected Historical Documents
Voting rights for residents of the District of Columbia have been discussed throughout the history of the United States. Here are just a few historical documents available through ProQuest Congressional (formerly Lexis Nexis Congressional) .
- Representaion of the District of Columbia in the Congress, Hearings bef. the Judiciary Comm., 94th Congress, June 17, 23, Sept. 3, 1975
- Voting Representation in Congress for the District of Columbia, Hearings bef. Judiciary Comm. , 92nd Congress, July 19-22, 1971
- Representation of DC in Congress, Hearings bef. District of Columbia Comm., 64th Congress, Feb. 24, 29, Mar. 2, 1916
- Resolutions Proposing Amendment of Constitution to Confer Representation to District of Columbia in Two Houses of Congress and in Electoral College, S. Misc. Doc. 51-237 (1890)
Created 3/17/2009 (MK)
Updated 3/2014 (AH)
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