WASHINGTON - January 12 - The DC Council and Mayor moved DC's Presidential primary from its ineffective date in May to the first-in-the-nation January 13 to highlight DC's lack of voting rights. DC has no Representatives, no Senators and only a non-voting delegate in Congress and its local laws can be overturned by Congress.
"We have received 100 times more attention than we ever would have for a Presidential Primary" said Jack Evans the councilmember who authored the legislation moving the primary. "The idea was to bring attention to our lack of representation in Congress and see what candidates would help us. To that end we have succeeded"
These actions are the result of moving DC's primary to highlight the lack of voting rights for DC residents, and directly asking what candidates will do for DC:
Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich have both promised to use their first State of the Union address to tell Congress to end our inequality.
Rev. Al Sharpton has made DC Statehood a platform plank and mentioned the issue in numerous national forums.
Carol Moseley-Braun has shown her commitment to DC and DC Statehood.
Dennis Kucinich has announced he will introduce a DC Statehood bill in the next session of Congress.
The issue has received more national and international press than at any time in the last ten years. Once aware a majority of Americans support granting us rights.
For the first time ever, all Democratic candidates (including late entrant Wesley Clark) have issued positions on our issue before the primary season began.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will host a town hall meeting in DC on voting rights/statehood and focus on the issue during their convention in Boston this summer.
Commitments from candidates to address the financial inequality caused by the structural deficit due to, and recognized by, the federal government.
"Make no mistake without moving the primary, DC voting rights and statehood would have received no commitments or attention from any candidate," said Sam Farmer of DCFirst.org, "instead we have changed the positions of some campaigns and brought more attention to our issue."
BACKGROUND ON DC's STATUS
Residents of the District of Columbia currently have only a non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives. They have no representation of any kind in the Senate. Yet they pay full federal income taxes, serve in the military and serve on juries but are treated in a manner much more associated with colonialism than democracy.
It was not always this way. From 1787 to 1801, they enjoyed status as full citizens and voted for Senators and Representatives. Then Congress moved to Washington and within a year had taken away all Congressional representation. This limited self government and in particular lack of control over the local budget (the majority of which are local taxes) has had adverse effects on residents of the District. Many countries have copied the American system (India, Australia, Brazil to name three) and all have capitals with full representation in the national legislature.