Tax Day Brings Rally for D.C. Voting Rights
||The American University Eagle (DC)
||Monday, April 14, 2003
This Tuesday, as some Washington, D.C. residents rush to mail their tax returns, others will be protesting the District's lack of representation in Congress.
DC Vote, a group that believes District residents should be represented in Congress, since they pay federal taxes, is sponsoring the rally. Currently, D.C.'s representation is limited to a nonvoting delegate and shadow representative in the House of Representatives as well as two shadow senators.
The protest will take place Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Freedom Plaza, at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street. Erin Taylor, former Student Confederation president and an intern for DC Vote, said that there would be several speakers at the rally, including D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).
At the rally, Williams will sign a bill concerning a current proposal to move the District's presidential primary so it takes place before New Hampshire's, Taylor said.
Taylor said that the District is home to some 150,000 college students, most of whom stay registered to vote in their home states because they do not want to lose their voice in Congress.
'I'm still registered in Illinois because I don't want to lose my federal representation,' she said.
When students remain registered in their home state, they lose their voice with the District government, Taylor said. 'There's no reason that council people should take us seriously.'
This negatively affects how much city government pays attention to students on issues such as parking off campus and 'a lot of issues between neighbors and campuses,' she said.
This would change 'if we had more of a legitimate voice; if students would be willing to switch their registration from their home state to here,' Taylor said.
If the District would have federal representation and more students were willing to register to vote in D.C., Taylor said, 'It will really enlarge the scope of student contributions to the city.'
Congress is currently debating D.C. voting rights in committee.
Norton introduced the 'No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2003' March 13 in the House. In the Senate, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) introduced the act with nine cosponsors including Senators Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.).
'This injustice is felt directly by District residents, but it is also a stain on the fabric of our democracy for the nation as a whole,' Lieberman said on the Senate floor. 'The right to be represented in the national legislature is fundamental to our core American values. We cannot allow this injustice to continue uncorrected.'