people inside a voting center
Photo by Edmond Dantès on Pexels.com

You may hear that question when you talk to a member of the DC League of Women Voters. We ask if your registration is up to date because we know that many people have had to make major changes in their lives since the last election. We want to register every eligible voter, including returning citizens, incarcerated citizens, native Washingtonians, new citizens, including you!

For 102 years now the US League has been helping 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 nonpartisan 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.

ELECTION INFORMATION FOR INCARCERATED DC RESIDENTS

• Do you have an incarcerated loved one? DC residents serving time for felonies (or misdemeanors) now have the right to vote, thanks to D.C.’s Restore the Restore the Vote Amendment Act of 2020.

• The League of Women Voters DC launched a Detained Voter Information Line to ensure that incarcerated residents can fully participate in the election. Whether in the DC jail or in federal prisons,

• DC residents can email dcvoter@lwvdc.org and/or call 202-800-6190 to request voter registration forms, nonpartisan information on candidates, and deadlines related to upcoming elections. The nonpartisan phone line is staffed by volunteers and receives calls from 9 am to 9 pm daily.

The DC League is a chapter of the national organization and is also 102 years old. We called ourselves the “voteless League of Women Voters” in 1921 and have been working to gain full rights for DC citizens since then. 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 two Senators like the other states, and representatives according to our population (right now we are entitled to one). It also means that we would have full control of our laws, our judicial system, our budget. It means that our governor could call up the DC National Guard whenever it is needed, without having to wait for presidential approval like we did on January 6th.

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 buildings and Congress would have total control over it. Our neighborhoods — our fire stations, hospitals, schools, grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and homes where almost 700,000 of us live and work — would all be in the new state of Douglass Commonwealth.

We have never been closer to gaining statehood than we are right now. The House has passed the Washington, DC Admission Act twice and we have record co-sponsors in the Senate. To help expand the visibility of our efforts for statehood, we launched Quilts4DC, a nationwide quilt challenge, asking quilt makers to make small quilts about DC Statehood. We very much appreciate the participation of several local African American quilt guilds! You can see the more than 60 quilts from 15 states and DC at lwvdc.org/quilts4dcgallery. You are also welcome to invite us to talk to your community group (on Zoom for now) by writing to statehood@lwvdc.org

The DC League is also holding three zoom sessions on Envisioning Statehood, discussing what kinds of changes DC residents would experience when we become a state. The first one on Taking Back Our Justice System has already taken place and can be viewed on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=XgAvnZvHBMg. The next zoom session, Envisioning Statehood: Government By the People will be held on June 16th, 7-8:30 PM and the third, Envisioning Statehood: What’s it Worth? will be held on July 21, 7-8:30 PM. A one-day conference on The State of DC Statehood is planned for September 17th.

Visit www.lwvdc.org to register for the discussions which are open to the public. We invite you to join the League while you are there! We want to have all our DC communities represented on our member rolls. We welcome anyone over 16 years old.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.