Continuing Violations of Equal Political Participation for the Residents of the District of Columbia
Several U.S. states retain laws and practices that severely restrict access to voting in contravention of the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs (Article 25) and non-discrimination principles under Article 2 of the ICCPR. These restrictions, which disproportionately affect low-income individuals and racial minorities, include restrictive identification requirements, highly inaccurate lists of individuals to be removed from voter rolls, restrictions on community-based voter registration drives, long waiting lines up to 7 hours in some locations, and attempts to cut early in-person voting by several days. Officials in one county have been accused of attempt to suppress Latino votes by providing the wrong election day on flyers written in Spanish.
Article 25 of the ICCPR requires elections by universal suffrage.” However, for over 200 years, unlike all other taxpaying citizens, the U.S. Government has systematically denied the residents of the District of Columbia the fundamental right to equal suffrage in the U.S. Congress by prohibiting their vote for and election of representatives to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. This issue has been exhaustively examined by myriad human rights bodies over the past twenty years. While three bills are currently before Congress that would grant residents of the District of Columbia various degrees of voting right in Congress, their passage remains highly doubtful.