Washington DC Voting Rights Amendment

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The Washington D.C. Voting Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment by Congress in 1978 to the U.S. Constitution giving Washington D.C. similar representation to states in the national government. Currently, as set out in the 23rd amendment to the Constitution, D.C. has limited representation in the national government, yet D.C. has a greater population than Wyoming and Vermont. D.C. has one representative in Congress that can only draft legislation, not vote, and the citizens of D.C. can only have as much representation in a Presidential election as the least populous state. 

The D.C. Voting Rights Amendment would have repealed the 23rd amendment, and it would have given D.C. much of the same representation as a state. D.C. would have two senators and the same amount of representatives as a state of the same population. Further, D.C. would have the same ability to vote in the electoral college as a state with the same population. It is important to note that the amendment would not have made D.C. a state as has been pushed for in the 21st century. The amendment was only ratified by 16 states, falling short of the 38 required to ratify before the amendment failed in 1985. 

[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]