Hill Bulletin.

Author:Ponomareff, Shirley Tabata
Position:Election law

When Congress recesses at the end of September, it is expected to leave behind much unfinished business. The "lame duck" Congress returns after the elections, and we will be watching for anything that might be slipped into pending bills. The League's Democracy Agenda priorities require vigilance. Because The National Voter is published just three times yearly, we strongly urge you to check the League Web site (www.lwv.org; click on "Take Action") periodically for the most current information on these priority issues and current action opportunities. We also urge you to sign up for the Grassroots Lobby Corps (see box at the end of Hill Bulletin).



In May, the House Government Reform Committee passed significant new legislation to provide voting rights in the House of Representatives for citizens of the District of Columbia, the DC Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act of 2006, H.R. 5388. The bill calls for a permanent 2-seat expansion to 437--one for DC and an at-large seat for Utah (entitled to the next seat by population size). This balanced approach provides voting rights for DC citizens without upsetting the partisan balance in the House.

DC citizens pay U.S. taxes, fight and die for the U.S. during wartime, and are governed by the laws that Congress passes. Yet, they have only a non-voting delegate in the House. H.R. 5388, sponsored by Rep. Tom Davis (R VA) and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D DC), corrects this wrong.

On September 14, the House Judiciary Committee will have a hearing on H.R. 5388, and proponents will then push for a vote in committee and on the House floor. Only Congress can ensure that the democracy we espouse and fight for globally becomes a reality in the nation's capital. We must continue to move this historic bill to final passage.

What You Can Do:

Tell your Representative to cosponsor and vote for H.R. 5388 to provide DC citizens voting rights.


In August, LWVUS President Mary Wilson testified before a Committee on House Administration field hearing in Phoenix, AZ, in opposition to the creation of new barriers to voting by eligible citizens. The League opposed H.R. 4844, the "Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006," which would require photo ID at the polling place and documentary proof of citizenship in the voter registration process. The proposed measures would undermine activities of the League and others who seek to boost citizen participation in our democracy.


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