Elections

Residents Vote To Make DC The 51 State

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Voters approved a ballot to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state by an overwhelming margin Tuesday, but it is far from becoming a reality.

Residents voted in favor of statehood with 71 percent support, a wide margin officials said was crucial to gain national attention. District officials will still have to pitch the idea to Congress, which is unlikely to support the measure with Republicans holding onto the House of Representatives. The future president must also weigh in, with Hillary Clinton voicing support and Donald Trump expressing skepticism, reports WTOP.

The D.C. Council still must craft a final constitution and it is unclear how the process will unfold. Longtime residential activists for statehood are sharply critical of the D.C. Council and Bowser for determining specifics of the proposed state constitution behind closed doors through the five-member New Columbia Statehood Commission.

Despite holding a “constitutional convention” in June, residents criticized the commission’s structure and transparency. Critics charge the convention was an empty effort to make the process seem democratic, while the core decisions were made by the unelected commission.

Many other voters in the District feel the same, and advocate that an elected delegation, not the New Columbia Statehood Commission, decide on the final constitution following the election.

The draft constitution would establish a 21-seat state legislature, a change from the original draft that would have simply elevated the 13-seat D.C. Council to the state’s legislative body. The numbers are also contentious for statehood advocates who feel a 21-seat legislature is far too small for a state governing body.

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