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Hawaii State Senate Backs D.C. Voting Rights

Efforts to grant D.C. voting rights have gained support both in the city and far away in the Pacific.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kcivey/899828681/
Efforts to grant D.C. voting rights have gained support both in the city and far away in the Pacific.

Hawaii may be 5,000 miles away from D.C., but it supports the city's ongoing struggle to gain voting representation in Congress.

On Friday, the Hawaii State Senate passed a resolution expressing its support for a constitutional amendment that would grant full voting rights to D.C. residents. This isn't the first time that the Aloha State has sided with D.C. on the issue — Governor Benjamin Cayetano declared August 2002 to be District of Columbia Voting Rights Month, and in 1961 Hawaii was the first state to ratify the 23rd amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted D.C. residents the right to vote in presidential elections.

In a statement, Mayor Vincent Gray thanked Hawaii for the resolution.

"I want to thank the Hawaii State Senate for taking a stand with us to demand full voting rights for residents of the District of Columbia. The state of Hawaii has a long history of supporting the District despite the nearly 5,000 miles that separate us. They have taken an important step in raising awareness of this issue in Hawaii, and I hope that their outrage towards the District's disenfranchisement will spread across the country," he said.

D.C. officials and activists have been pushing for voting rights, self-determination and statehood with renewed vigor in recent years. Earlier this year Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) introduced bills that would grant D.C. statehood and a full voting seat in the House of Representatives. On April 23, over 80 percent of D.C. residents backed a referendum that would grant city officials more control over locally raised funds; that measure now goes to Congress for a 35-day review period.

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