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3 Star Ball brings attention to D.C. voting rights

Dressed as a pregnant chad, Kevin Kiger of Washington, center, protests at the Friendship Heights Center, Tuesday, Nov.5, 2002, in Chevy Chase, Md. At right, John Capozzi, also of Washington, waves a Taxation Without Representation D.C. flag. The demonstrators were protesting the District of Columbia\'s lack of voting members in Congress. (AP Photo/Joe Marquette)

WASHINGTON – The District of Columbia has been without voting rights for more than 200 years, and for the past 16, a local organization has lobbied to change this.

“If we want to be beacons of democracy abroad, we have got to be that shining example here at home,” says Kimberly Perry, executive director of D.C. Vote, a group of 40,000 people and institutions who lobby for voting rights in the District.

“We pay taxes, for example. We serve on juries. Our sons and daughters go off to fight for war and democracy in other locations, but we don’t have full voting rights.”

Perry says D.C.’s lack of representation in Congress has direct impacts on the city. It delays funding to schools, omits residents from important decisions on infrastructure and transportation and affects the area’s public health programs.

But Perry thinks D.C.’s growing population could have a positive impact on voting rights in the District.

“The city is changing; it’s growing



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