Friday, July 10, 2015
Media Source: 
Media Matters For America
Author: 
Libby Watson

Fox's Outnumbered roundly denounced a proposal that would allow permanent residents in the District of Columbia to vote in local elections, lamenting that it undermines the notion of American citizenship while ignoring that D.C. citizens do not have a vote in Congress.

On July 8, D.C. legislators discussed a bill that would allow U.S. permanent residents, or green card holders, the right to vote in local elections. According to WAMU, advocates of the proposal suggest the measure would give a "formal voice" to permanent residents who already pay taxes.

Discussing the bill on the July 10 edition of Outnumbered, host Sandra Smith remarked that "[y]ou are not an American citizen so you don't have the right to vote. Period." Andrea Tantaros agreed, calling  D.C.'s measure "lunacy" as Harris Faulker claimed that her "sensibilities are offended by the fact that we don't at least respect where we come from." Fox contributor Julie Roginsky went on to ask "[w]hat does it mean to be an American citizen if not that you have the privilege of voting for the representative government that you want?"

But Roginsky's question ignores that all residents of the District of Columbia, citizen and non-citizen alike, are not represented by a voting member of Congress. D.C. is represented in Congress by a non-voting delegate, currently Eleanor Holmes-Norton, who cannot vote on the House floor. DC Vote, a group that advocates for D.C. voting rights, points out that citizens in the District "pay federal taxes, fight and die in wars, and serve on juries, yet are denied voting representation in Congress," and that Congress has the final say over their laws. According to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, over 600,000 people live in DC -- more than the state of Wyoming-- and its residents pay $1.6 billion in federal taxes each year.

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