WASHINGTON, DC – Permanent residents who are not yet citizens of the United States may soon have the right to vote in the District of Columbia's local elections, if the bill introduced by Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau becomes law. Nadeau introduced the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2021 today, which had been introduced in prior Council periods. The legislation amends the District of Columbia Election Code of 1955 to expand the definition of the term “qualified elector” to include permanent residents for the purpose of local elections.
Permanent residents would be able to vote in elections for Mayor, DC Council, State Board of Education, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, and Attorney General.
“Every day, elected officials are making decisions about affordable housing, education, human services and more,” said Nadeau. “People who have made their permanent homes here should have a hand in who represents them in government. The District of Columbia has long been a place that has welcomed immigrants into our community, and it’s time to allow for their full participation in our institutions.”
Nadeau also notes that local government became even more consequential during the pandemic, as decisions were being made were being made that greatly impacted the health and safety of permanent residents in the District of Columbia.
Councilmembers Elissa Silverman, Robert White, Christina Henderson, Brooke Pinto, Janeese Lewis George, and Charles Allen are co-introducing the legislation. “As more and more legislators across the country introduce bills to suppress votes of their most marginalized residents, here in the District of Columbia we are marching in the opposite direction. We are on the verge of Statehood and full representation for DC residents. It’s time for us to expand and strengthen every aspect of our democracy,” said Nadeau.