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Norton to Congress: Pass D.C. Voting Rights by Lincoln's Birthday

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) wants Congress to get a move on and approve the D.C. Voting Rights Act. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.), Norton urged her to push for a vote on the bill that would give the District a House seat by the bicentennial anniversary of Lincoln's birthday, Feb. 12.

The voting rights bill, which also would give an extra House seat to predominantly Republican Utah for political balance, passed the House last year but was held up in the Senate. Norton hopes both houses of Congress will approve it now that the Senate has picked up six Democratic seats. Norton said the idea of using Lincoln's birthday as a timetable came from Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

"We fully understand the weight of the unprecedented issues that confront you and the new Congress. However, we believe that with an even larger Democratic majority here and in the Senate, and a party committed to this issue in its platform, the District of Columbia Voting Rights Act should be an easy, bipartisan vote in both the House and Senate," Norton said in the letter.

Some D.C. activists have said the city should scrap the Voting Rights Act and push for full statehood, with two Senate seats in addition to the House seat. But Norton has said the city should stick with a bill that has a good chance of being approved.

By David A Nakamura  |  December 5, 2008; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  Voting Rights  
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