Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III reintroduced the D.C. voting rights act yesterday in Congress, giving D.C. residents another chance to gain a House vote.

Mr. Davis, Virginia Republican, and Mrs. Norton, a Democrat and the District’s nonvoting congressional delegate, co-sponsored the bill, which last year received bipartisan support in one committee.

Ilir Zherka of the D.C. Vote advocacy group said that he hopes for a full House vote in February and that the bill will be enacted by late spring.

The bill would give one vote to the District, which is predominantly Democratic, and another to Utah, a mostly Republican state.

If approved, the bill would increase the size of the House to 437 members and maintain the historic precedent that representation cannot be increased in Congress unless neither party clearly gains or loses power.

The House Government Reform Committee approved the bill in May.

But the Judiciary Committee opposed allowing Utah to add an at-large seat and ordered state officials to redraw districts to create the fourth seat.

The legislature did so, but Congress failed to act on the legislation before it adjourned for this past session.

Mr. Davis and Mrs. Norton hope the new Democratic House majority will give the bill strength.

“The… act provides a second chance for lawmakers to finish the work,” Mr. Zherka said. “This opportunity should not be missed.”

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