Did you know that D.C. residents could not even vote in presidential elections until 1964?
On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver made the case that residents of Washington, D.C. should be represented by a member of Congress who can vote on their behalf.
While D.C.’s population is larger than Vermont and Wyoming and the territory’s gross domestic product is higher than that of 16 states, residents do not have full representation in our political process, Oliver argues.
“The people of D.C. clearly deserve a greater voice in their own affairs,” Oliver says.
While Congress came close to passing a bill to give D.C. a vote in 2009, it had one, tiny condition — D.C. would have to repeal all of its current gun control laws. Yup – that’s right – D.C. residents could only gain voting rights as a territory if they reversed the city’s gun laws.
“We are the only democracy in the world that does this. In fact, when the Dali Lama came to visit he wondered why a small pocket of people living in the world’s champion of democracy lacked full voting rights, calling it ‘quite strange, quite strange.’”
Washington, D.C. does have a representative – U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton – but she cannot actually vote on matters brought before the House floor.
Watch as John Oliver provides a brief overview of D.C.’s political history: