This post was written by Hatchet reporter Jenna Berman.
D.C. voters support the District becoming the 51st state.
Voters in D.C. overwhelmingly approved an advisory ballot referendum for a plan to press the U.S. Congress for statehood. More than 80 percent of D.C. voters approved the statehood measure by 9:30 p.m., with more than 60 percent of the votes cast on Tuesday in, according to the D.C. Board of Elections.
The ballot question’s main points include the constitution, boundaries, representative government, and the final steps to statehood. When voters checked off “yes” on their ballots, they did so to all four parts of the question.
The last time citizens voted on whether the city should become a state was a failed attempt in 1982. Congress shot down the request, and mandated that the District continue to operate as a federal district, as it has been for more than 200 years.
The initiative is meant to measure public opinion on statehood and affirms to Congress that the three pre-conditions for statehood will be met and are accepted by a majority of the city’s residents. It would need to be approved by Congress for D.C. to become a state.
Statehood would allow D.C. officials to levy new taxes and pass laws without congressional approval, and also have voting members in Congress. This would free D.C. from congressional interference on key social issues such as marijuana legalization, which residents supported in a referendum two years ago.