DC Votes for Statehood

Drafted constitution now goes before Congress for approval—but it's a tough road
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2016 9:21 AM CST
DC Votes for Statehood
Statehood coming for DC?   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A push to make Washington, DC, the nation's 51st state forged ahead Tuesday with voters in the district giving a thumbs-up to the initiative in an Election Day referendum, the Washington Post reports. Per NBC Washington, 86% of DC voters approved the referendum. "With massive turnout, District residents overwhelmingly voted to continue on our bold, new path to DC Statehood," Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote in a Tuesday evening Facebook post. "We will continue the march to convince the next President, Congress and the country that statehood for the District's 672,000 residents is a moral imperative." Despite serving in the military and having to pony up federal taxes, DC residents have no senators representing them, and only one congresswoman, Eleanor Holmes Norton, who doesn't get to vote, notes the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

In a statement, Norton applauded the voters' decision, calling it "a kick in the pants" for Congress, per NBC. But the CBS DC notes that achieving statehood won't be an easy haul: The draft of the constitution that voters endorsed—complete with a spelling out of the proposed state's borders and the replacement of the mayor with a governor—will be presented to Congress, but GOPers would likely balk, since the two new Senate seats created for the state would almost certainly go to Democrats, as would the House representative seat. President-elect Donald Trump's take earlier this year to the Washington Post on DC's statehood drive: It's a "tough thing. ... I'd like to study it." Bowser says she'll present a petition to the new president and congressional leaders by Inauguration Day. (Check out the new name proposal that's been bandied about.)

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