E-bulletin - Issue II - February 18, 2005
Dear DC Vote Supporters:
January 2005 was a busy month for DC Vote and its staff and there's no sign we'll be slowing down soon!
DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), U.S. Representative Tom Davis (R-VA), Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, joined over 125 leaders from the nonprofit, philanthropic, business and labor communities for a DC Voting Rights Summit, hosted by DC Vote and the Washington Regional Area Grantmakers. Also at the summit, DC Vote Executive Director Ilir Zherka released the findings of a KRC Research national poll that revealed more than eight out of ten Americans believe DC residents should have equal voting rights in the House and Senate (PDF 443 kb.).
Use the links below to read about other DC Vote news that's important to you:
DC Voting Rights Summit
On January 25, 2005, over 125 leaders from the nonprofit, philanthropic, business, and labor communities joined U.S. Representative Tom Davis (R-VA), Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, and DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for the DC Voting Rights Summit. Participants discussed the state of the voting rights movement and the impact of DC's denial of congressional voting representation on such critical issues as public health, gun safety, business investment, and the environment.
Tom Sherwood of NBC4 moderated a panel discussion. The panelists included:
- Donald Borut,Executive Director, National League of Cities
- Terri Lee Freeman, President, Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
- Jatrice Martel Gaiter, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC, Inc.
- Ted Trabue, Regional Vice President, PEPCO
- Jan Verhage, Executive Director, Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital
- Jos Williams, President, Metro Washington Council, AFL-CIO
"We know that education is the surest way to increase support for equal voting rights for DC citizens," said Illr Zherka, Executive Director of DC Vote. "The involvement of the nonprofit community in reaching out to the community, not just in the DC area, but across the nation, will have a dramatic effect in making our country aware of DC's status."
Also at the forum, DC Vote released important new data from a national poll showing widespread support for equal voting rights for DC citizens. The poll results are discussed in further detail in a section below.
The DC Voting Rights Summit was sponsored by:
Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Consumer Health Foundation
Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation
Public Welfare Foundation
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Rep. Tom Davis and Others Voice Support for DC Voting Rights
Pronouncing the effort as a moral objective and an urgent foreign policy initiative, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) announced his support for securing voting rights for the citizens of DC at the Voting Rights Summit held on January 25.
On the heels of President Bush's inauguration speech, Davis said the time is right to push for democracy in DC.
"[DC] deserves this as a God-given right, as the President has said," Davis said. "As we struggle to bring these ideas around the world, let's do it here in our own backyard."
Davis went on to discuss a recent trip with a congressional delegation he had taken to Hong Kong. "I brought up democracy in Hong Kong," Davis said. "And the Vice Mayor said to us, 'Give your nation's capital the right to vote and then come talk to us about democracy in Hong Kong."
For more media coverage of the DC Voting Rights Summit and Rep. Davis's comments, read:
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New DC Vote Poll Shows Overwhelming National Support for Full Voting Rights for DC
A new national poll commissioned by DC Vote showed that a majority of Americans are not aware DC lacks voting representation in Congress, and revealed that, once informed, there is wide, bi-partisan support for equal voting rights for the citizens of DC.
78 percent of those surveyed incorrectly believed DC residents have equal voting rights in Congress as compared to other Americans. After the respondents were informed, 82 percent of those surveyed believed DC residents should have equal voting rights in Congress.
Poll respondents also gave the highest rating to "Democracy is an American birthright" and "Children should know that everyone counts in American democracy" when asked for good or excellent reasons to support DC voting rights.
The national poll was conducted by KRC Research under the supervision of Mark David Richards, PhD.
Click here to see the complete results of the poll (PDF 443 kb.).
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'No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2005'
Ilir Zherka joined Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) to introduce the 'No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2005' on Thursday, January 27, 2005. The bills S. 195 and H.R. 398 would provide the District with full congressional voting representation: one Congressman and two Senators.
Senator Lieberman announced his plans to build bipartisan support for the legislation.
"We will continue to seek Republican support for this measure," Lieberman said. "This ought to be totally non-partisan."
Lieberman said he was committed to recruiting Republican senators to support the bill. His comments come only two days after the DC Voting Rights Summit, sponsored by DC Vote.
“Senator Lieberman’s pledge to support DC voting rights coupled with the support of area foundations have provided the movement with a positive jolt of enthusiasm and energy,” said Ilir Zherka, executive director of DC Vote. “Now we need to turn that energy into action in the weeks and months ahead.”
For photos of the event and media coverage of the conference, see:
For follow up media coverage on the DC House Subcommittee:
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DC Vote Partners with DCTV for "Democracy Day"
On Saturday, February 5th, DC Vote joined DCTV to host "Democracy Day," an opportunity for non-profit organizations to create public service announcements advocating for DC voting rights.
Six organizations joined DC Vote at the event:
The six organizations and DC Vote each recorded 60-second segments highlighting their contributions to the DC voting rights movement.
- DC Young Suffragists
- League of Women Voters
- NAACP Vets Group
- Central American Resource Center
- Washington Area Urban League
- DC Area NAACP
"Democracy Day was an outstanding opportunity for voting rights organizations to get their messages out to the DC community," Shawn Rolland, program assistant at DC Vote who coordinated Democracy Day. "We're always looking for innovative ways like this to inform and engage the community."
The announcements from all of the organizations will air throughout the year at various times on DC's public access channels - Comcast channels 5 and 6, and Starpower channels 10 and 11.
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Young Suffragists Ask Senators to "Be Mine" on Valentine's Day
The DC Young Suffragists, a group of kids ages 4 to 12 dedicated to the principles of democracy through education and civic action, visited 30 U.S. Senators on Valentine’s Day, Monday, February 14.
In an effort to remind senators that DC residents do not have voting representation in the U.S. Senate nor the Congress, DC Young Suffragists delivered homemade valentines along with cupcakes donated by CakeLove to lucky senators selected from states where their family and friends reside.
The ultimate goal of these visits is to teach DC's kids about what U.S. Senators do, while reminding senators that DC kids want and deserve two of their own.
"As a resident of DC, it's pretty discouraging to call the Senate and have no one representing us," said Jane Varner Malhotra, one of the founders of the DC Young Suffragists. "It’s hard to live in a 'democracy' when you're part of no one’s constituency!"
"But these dedicated, earnest, joyful children are calling the Senate. They’re learning what a Senator does. They are learning how to make their voices heard. And they're learning what an active, engaged citizen of a democracy does: fix it til it's right!"
Before the Capitol Hill visit, the Young Suffragists gathered on Sunday, February 13 at DC Vote for a Valentine-making party and to work on questions for their visit to see senators.
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U.S. House of Representatives Reorganizes DC Appropriations Subcommittee
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) is very pleased with the outcome of the separate Senate and House committee reorganizations, which she expects will complement each other and help to reduce an adverse impact on the District of Columbia. Norton credited House Appropriations Chair Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Senate Appropriations Chair Thad Cochran (R-MS) for changes made to accommodate the District's needs. "Both the new chairs have longstanding records of fairness and respect for the city. The decisions reflect their records and are very encouraging for the future," Norton said.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee's responsibilities have been absorbed by the Transportation Subcommittee.
For more information on the subcommittee reorganization, see:
Proposal In House Would Kill D.C. Panel
City Loses Its Panel In House Committee - Officials Expect Less Interference
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Recently Heard Quotes about DC Voting Rights Media
Sen. Lieberman and Del. Norton's press conference, combined with the recent DC Voting Rights Summit featuring Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA), the release of DC Vote's national polling data, the Inauguration, and the upcoming election in Iraq have created a boom in public interest in the DC voting rights movement. DC Vote has garnered substantial local and national coverage, with reports from the Associated Press, the Washington Post, washingtonpost.com, C-SPAN, CNN, Roll Call, and several television and radio stations across the country. Here are a few memorable quotes from the past month:
Excerpt from CNN's Crossfire:
Paul Begala: "D.C. residents are fighting so that Iraqis can have a voice in their government. But President Bush doesn't want those same D.C. residents to have a voice in their own government."
Begala to Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL): "Don't you think Republicans should support people in D.C. having a free ballot and having a member of Congress, too, if it's good enough for Iraq and Afghanistan?"
Foley: No problem with it.
Begala: God bless you. Voting rights for D.C. from a Republican.
Senator Lieberman, at the No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2005 Press Conference
"In Washington, D.C., the capital of the world's most powerful country, which in the president's own words delivered in his inaugural address a week ago stands most of all for freedom and democracy . . . you cannot cast a vote. That is wrong."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's Press Secretary, Jennifer Crider
"The Democrats' position is clear - [DC] should have a vote and that vote should count."
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DC Vote's Website to House Comprehensive DC Voting Rights History
DC Vote, through a generous grant provided by the Trellis Fund, is working to make its website the most comprehensive source on the Internet for information related to the DC voting rights movement. The communications staff is currently working to add hundreds of historical documents to the soon-to-be-launched section.
"We want to not only make sure that historical information is preserved but also that information on all aspects of the DC voting rights movement is available to those wanting to learn more," said Kevin Kiger, DC Vote Communications Director. "We want everyone from historians to students to activists to everyday people to have unlimited access to this wealth of information."
DC Vote will unveil the addition to the DC Vote website in March 2005.
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My DC Vote
Logon to My DC Vote from the left navigation bar on DC Vote's website and you will be able to manage your contact information, email subscriptions, and learn what's new since your last visit. DC Vote has also updated its membership and contribution page. Using My DC Vote makes it easier and more secure than ever to donate to DC Vote online. (All online transactions are handled by our secure server).
Signing up on our website is now easier than ever, and one of the keys to our success will be the ability to reach supporters across the country to ask them to help us end taxation without representation. We need all of our members and supporters to log in to My DC Vote to tell us where you are currently registered to vote; if you are a DC resident, you can tell us what Ward you are in; and, if applicable, you can tell us the state where you were registered to vote before moving to DC. DC Vote has a secure server and does not share its e-mail list or any information about voting registration with anyone.
It takes a great deal of resources to work on all these projects and stay engaged in all these activities. Please help DC Vote by making a donation today.
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