DC Voting Rights: National Impact of the Movement for Full Democracy in DC

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 -
12:00pm to 2:00pm EDT
Carnegie Corporation, 437 Madison Ave., NYC
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REGISTRATION: RSVP to Abby Levine at alevine@dcvote.org or 202-462-6000 x17 by Friday, May 7, 2010.

A Philanthropy New York Members Briefing, presented by Carnegie Corporation of New York, Open Society Insitute, The Ford Foundation, The Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, and The Arca Foundation.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: All interested funders.

Lunch will be served.

Nearly 600,000 Washington, DC, residents pay federal taxes, fight in wars and serve on juries, yet have no vote in Congress. Because of the hard work of DC Vote and its 85 local and national coalition partners, Washington, DC, is waging a campaign for voting rights and local autonomy. Congress - with no full voting representative from DC - has the power to grant the District the fundamental civil right of congressional representation. Therefore, in order to end taxation without representation, a national strategy and action plan are necessary

DC Vote's main legislative priority, the DC Voting Rights Act (DC VRA), was pulled from the House floor on April 19, 2010 despite a majority of bipartisan support in Congress. Due to successful efforts by pro-gun members of Congress, the DC VRA became inextricably linked to a poisonous gun amendment that would eviscerate DC gun laws. DC leaders worked tirelessly to reach a compromise with the National Rifle Association, but not only did the NRA not compromise, they pushed too far and demanded numerous additions to the amendment that are beyond the pale. These additions would have made passage in the Senate nearly impossible.

The gun amendment and other efforts to stop DC's march toward full democracy are exactly why DC Vote will continue to work to pass the DC VRA and other bills providing budget and legislative autonomy for DC. Every DC democracy bill which DC Vote promotes in Congress is subject to the hot button issues of the day. With a full vote in the House, DC will have greater power to stop these efforts in the future.

Moving forward, DC Vote is sticking to its core principles:

  • bipartisanship to guide future legislative efforts,
  • partnering with coalition groups, especially when DC Vote works in the states
  • education and grassroots involvement as the core activity

These principles will frame DC Vote's two main goals for 2010 - working toward budget and legislative autonomy for DC and looking to create or respond to opportunities to move the DC VRA.

Please join Carnegie Corporation of New York and others for a briefing on how the DC voting rights movement can face this current challenge and seize what is still the best opportunity in decades to make change. Join us to discuss what it will mean for American democracy and civic engagement when DC achieves full representation in the House and, eventually, the Senate.


  • Lori Alvino McGill, Attorney at Latham Watkins LLP and co-author of foundation legal briefs on the DC Voting Rights Act
  • Ilir Zherka, Executive Director of DC Vote
  • Geri Mannion, Director of U.S. Democracy Program, Carnegie Corporation of New York

FEE: None.

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