To the Editor:
While reading Anna Grasza’s article “Elis weigh pros and cons of absentee voting” (10/29) I reflected on my personal reason for registering to vote in Connecticut, more so than many of my peers.
I am from the District of Columbia, which despite have a population of more than half a million people, and despite being the capital of the world’s oldest surviving representative democracy, does not give its inhabitants the right to elect voting representatives in the House or the Senate. In fact, it wasn’t until 1961 that citizens of the District were allowed to vote in Presidential elections, and we are still only allowed the same number of electors (3) as the smallest states. We pay taxes just like other U.S. citizens, and we fight in wars just like other U.S. citizens. We should be allowed representatives in both the House and the Senate.
When I came to Yale and registered to vote in Connecticut, my parents asked me why — after all, both D.C. and Connecticut are highly Democratic states, so it’s not as though I’ll be the swing vote in a close election. But now, when I’m worried about U.S. policy at home or abroad, I have representatives I can contact with my concerns. This invaluable and basic right is denied to U.S. citizens living in our nation’s capital (and, by the way, residents of all U.S. territories).
Surely, when the framers of the constitution empowered the U.S. Congress to exercise exclusive legislation over the capital district, they did not imagine the disenfranchisement of nearly 600,000 people. The right of all American citizens to vote is affirmed in the 14th, 15th and 19th amendments. I urge those U.S. citizens who enjoy full representation to educate themselves on the issue and contact their representatives in support of D.C. voting rights today.
Stein is a freshman in Calhoun College.