Overview: Fixing the Hole in Our Democracy

Since 1801, the residents of the District of Columbia have had no representation in Congress, nor have they been able to govern themselves without interference from Congress. It was not until 1964 that they were allowed to vote for the President of the United States. Although the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution provided the residents with limited Home Rule, Congress still has jurisdiction over DC legislation and its budget.

Over the years, many alternatives to statehood have been attempted, and the League of Women Voters has advocated for voting rights and statehood for many years. Residents are convinced that only statehood will assure that DC citizens have the same rights and protection that residents in the current 50 states enjoy. On November 8, 2016, they voted overwhelmingly to petition Congress for statehood.

Under a grant from the District government, the League of Women Voters, working with LWV District of Columbia, has developed the Statehood Toolkit you find here. We encourage you to use the materials to educate members and lawmakers about the issues. The toolkit includes materials that you might incorporate into your meeting programs, add to your social media, or share with your Congressional representatives.

Background Papers

We Are DC!

Frequently Asked Questions about Statehood for the People of DC

The Changing Face of DC Governance over Time

How the District of Columbia is Governed in 2016

Congressional Intervention in DC Local Affairs

How Does the World View Violations of Equal Political Participation for DC Citizens?

League of Women Voters Efforts to Achieve Full Voting Rights for DC Citizens

The Rights of DC Citizens are in Your Hands


The two quizzes can be used as ice-breakers and audience participation exercises:

Steps in the Journey for Civil Rights Quiz (traces the expansion of the right to vote in the United States)

A History of Washington, DC Quiz (traces the establishment and governance of DC)

Power Points and Webinar

Fixing the Hole in Our Democracy (used in the on-site presentations and can be used by state and local Leagues for educational programs on statehood for DC)

Statehood for the People of DC: History, Facts, and Path Toward Statehood (can be used at any community event)

Webinar December 8, 2016: Fixing the Hole in Our Democracy

Media Guide

Media: Toolkit: Fixing the Hole in Our Democracy. Information on using different forms of media outreach including social media to promote DC Voting Rights and Statehood.

All the resources listed above can be found at http://forum.lwv.org/category/member-resources/our-work/voter-protection