RealClearPolitics - Politics - Apr 20, 2010 - House abandons DC vote bill
DC voting rights is an issue which unfortunately Congress can't help but screw up. The issue of whether or not people get to vote in DC is a red herring. The real question behind DC voting rights is the power of Congress versus the Constitution. Congress is trying to convey the right to vote to the District by passing a statute that is conflicts with the Constitution. Congressional supporters of the DC voting rights act argue that since Congress has absolute control over DC, then Congress can determine if DC get's a vote or not. This legal reasoning is not sound and does not address the many provisions in the Constitution that speak to DC and its voting rights.
Throughout the Constitution, the original framers and the later drafters of the 23rd Amendment made the obvious decision to distinguish between the States and the District when speaking to voting rights. Additionally, reading the Constitution makes it clear that the District was always supposed to be a place of limited Representation. Take for example the provision that states, that DC can have no more electoral votes than the state with least amount. Hence, DC can never (for now) have no more than 3 electoral votes no matter how many people live there. There are other examples, but I don't really feel like looking them up now. The real issue here is that when the provisions addressing DC and representation in Congress were drafted in the Constitution it is important to remember that the drafters constitutionally set the District and the States apart. They are referred to separately and the Constitution limits DC representation in the electoral college.
Voting in DC is not really the issue. Sure, you can make it an emotional plea for this or that, but the real issue is whether Congress will do this right and go through the Amendment Process. This is an issue of power and limits of Congress's power over the lives of the people. This matter needs to be done right out of fairness to the Constitutional process and ultimately to the people of DC and the rest of the country.
23rd Amendment: 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.