In Support of Full Voting Rights for the Citizens of the District of Columbia
WHEREAS, over 572,000 residents of the District of Columbia, like citizens of the fifty states, bear all of the obligations of American citizenship: they are required to obey the laws passed by Congress, pay annually over $3 billion in federal taxes; they serve in the military, and fight and die in our wars. Yet, they lack the most basic right that should accompany American citizenship - the right to full voting representation in the Congress; and
WHEREAS, in the 206-year history of the District of Columbia, Congress has ruled over the District with little regard for the promise of America's democracy - that those who govern derive their powers from the governed. The people of the District of Columbia have not only been left out of decisions affecting how our nation is run, but they have also been left out of decisions affecting how their own city is run. Congress has held the exclusive legislative authority to review and modify their local budget and to annul any local law of the District of Columbia to which Congress does not agree; and
WHEREAS, the District of Columbia has sent thousands of its young men and women to defend freedom and democracy in both World Wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War; and the young men and women of the DC National Guard were the first called to protect our freedom and democracy as the tragedies of September 11th, 2001 unfolded and were also the first deployed to Afghanistan to defend our country's freedom and democracy from terrorism; and has suffered more casualties than have several states; and
WHEREAS, the population of the District of Columbia, like 8 other states, is under one million, but is larger than the state of Wyoming, which is still entitled to 2 senators and 1 representative; and
WHEREAS, residents of the District of Columbia are denied the constitutional right to appoint its own judges and to manage its own court and prison systems, as guaranteed to citizens living in states; and
WHEREAS, residents of the District of Columbia pay full federal taxes that are higher per capita than citizens of all 50 states; and
WHEREAS, the area designated as the National Capital Service Area for all Americans is a very small portion of the City that is home to Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, and the many federal buildings and museums, is separate and apart from the 120 neighborhoods where most people live as permanent residents of the District of Columbia, with 50 percent having resided there for 20 years or more; and
WHEREAS, in other areas of the country such as Nevada, Utah, Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon, and California, where the federal government owns a larger percentage of the land than in the District of Columbia, citizens of those states still have a right to vote for representation in the national legislature; and
WHEREAS, the District of Columbia is responsible for most functions of a city, county, and state such as driver licensure, vehicle inspections, occupational licensure, insurance and securities regulation, liquor control, consumer affairs, workers' and unemployment compensation, food and drug inspection, utility regulation, professional licensure, lottery, weights and measures; and is treated as a state in over 500 federal laws, including operating its own police force, school system, and has its own legal code; and
WHEREAS, the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides all citizens of the United States Of America with the guarantee of equal protection of the laws, and gives Congress the power to enforce such guarantee.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP affirms its support for full voting representation for all citizens, including the residents of the District of Columbia by endorsing the DC Voting Rights Act, the bipartisan consensus bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), that was passed by the House on April 19, 2007; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, in order to ensure bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate for the "DC Voting Rights Act," we strongly encourage NAACP members from every state to contact their senators to urge them to pass this important legislation; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP through its national, regional, and local offices and its members will continue to raise awareness and educate the American citizenry about this injustice and take action towards a solution.