You may hear that question when you talk to a member of the DC League of Women Voters. We ask if you are registered to vote at your current address with your current name. We want to register every eligible voter, including returning citizens, incarcerated citizens, native Washingtonians, new US citizens, including you!
The US League is 100 years old this year and was established to help people become informed citizens. We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate. We work to secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all. We also promote social and economic justice and the health and safety of all residents. As a non-partisan organization we want to make sure that people know who is on the ballot so they can make educated choices when they vote. You can go to Vote411.org and put in your address to find out who is on your ballot and what they say for themselves.
This past year the League launched our People Powered Fair Maps Campaign (PPFM) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We think that maps that determine the lines of Congressional districts (and Ward districts in DC) should be drawn by independent, non-partisan commissions with transparency and fairness. Partisan gerrymandering is not fair and is damaging to our democracy because it prevents fair representation of everyone. We oppose all voter suppression and are working hard through legislation and lawsuits in many parts of the country to stop such practices. The DC League of Women Voters is participating in PPFM by working to get ON the map as a state.
The DC League is also 100 years old this year! We called ourselves the “voteless League of Women Voters” in 1921. We work to gain full rights for DC citizens and improve the living and working conditions of our communities. Over the years, we pushed for Child Labor Laws, opposed “clearing slums”, called for safe and sanitary public housing, and took on gun control. The DC League desegregated in 1944, declared “segregation is discrimination” in 1946, and elected our first African American president in 1963. For more history, see our Centennial Timeline at www.lwvdc.org.
What does “full rights” mean? It means joining the rest of the United States by becoming a state, fully equal to the other 50 states. We would have 2 Senators like the other states, and representatives according to our population (right now we are entitled to one). It also means we would have full local control of our laws, our judicial system, our budget. It means that the President could not order in troops without our governor’s consent.
The United States would still have a national capital in a smaller federal district. The district would hold the Capitol building, the Supreme Court, the Mall, White House, monuments and congressional office building and Congress would have total control over it. Our neighborhoods—our fire stations, hospitals, schools, grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and homes where 705,000 of us live and work would all be in the new state.
This year has been historic for DC in our fight for Statehood. The Washington, DC (Douglass Commonwealth) Admission Act has passed the House for the first time ever. The bill is on the Senate floor for the first time ever. We need the Senate to pass the bill and the sitting president to sign it to become the 51st state just like all the other 37 states have entered the Union after the first 13—through a majority vote. If it does not pass this time, the bill will be reintroduced in the next Congress.
League members have traveled all over, visiting 30 states and Hong Kong. We know just how little people living in the 50 states understand about how DC is governed and why we need to become a state. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is a powerful voice for DC in the House, but she cannot vote on the House floor. And, without Senators, DC has no vote on Supreme Court judges, and can get shortchanged like we did on COVID-19 relief funding. When people hear that we have more people than 2 states, we pay taxes, serve in the military, hold regular jobs like they do, they support our drive for statehood. You can help by asking your friends and relatives who live in the 50 states to sign our petition supporting statehood at www.lwvdc.org. You can invite us to talk to your community group (on Zoom, for now) by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite you to join the League at www.lwvdc.org. We want to have all our DC communities represented on our member rolls. We welcome anyone over 16 years old.