By Jessica Gould
For years, D.C. voting rights activists have worked to increase the District's representation in Congress. Now they're worried that new rules proposed for the House of Representatives will be a setback.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has never had full voting rights. But she is allowed to vote on amendments to tax and spending bills as part of the Committee of the Whole.
"It's an opportunity for delegates to cast a vote in favor of legislation or opposed to it so that their constituencies and other folks know where they stand on issues," says DC Vote executive director Ilir Zherka.
In the past, some Republicans have challenged whether D.C.'s delegate should be permitted to vote in the Committee. But federal courts upheld the practice. Now Zherka says the District should be moving toward more representation, not less.
"Obviously we'd love for D.C. residents to have full voting representation in the House and Senate," he says. "But we don't want to take a step backwards."
Zherka says activists will be lobbying legislators in January to preserve Norton's vote.
Jessica Gould also reports for D.C.'s Current Newspapers.