EDITORIAL – The strong case for D.C. statehood

There are more than 700,000 Americans living within a 68-square-mile area who have no elected representation in Congress. They are allowed to vote in presidential elections only for Electoral College electors, not the candidates themselves. Congress can and often does intervene in the local governance of this area.

This population is bigger than those of Vermont and Wyoming and just a bit smaller than those of Alaska and North Dakota. If you haven’t guessed already, these Americans live in the District of Columbia.

There are no objections to D.C. statehood that outweigh lack of elected representation for hundreds of thousands of America citizens.

D.C. residents have long sought statehood. Some like Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s nonvoting representative in Congress, have made it their life’s work. For every one of the past 14 years she has introduced a bill to grant statehood to the district. (Holmes Norton, by the way, is allowed to sit in the House and vote in committee only. So toothless is her position that she was not permitted a floor vote on her own bill.) This time, it actually passed the House with more than 200 cosponsors, and President Joe Biden has said he will sign it if it comes to his desk.