The 23rd Amendment - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

The 23rd Amendment

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By Tim Guidera - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – Washington D.C. is the site and seat of most American governmental activity.

But the nation's capitol did not even have a say in who occupied the White House until the 23rd Amendment was passed.

Unlike the 50 states, the District of Columbia does not have members of the House of Representatives or the Senate. And before 1961, its residents were not able to participate in presidential elections. But the 23rd Amendment provided that vote, while including Washington D.C. in the electoral college but only as the equivalent of the country's smallest actual state.

"It's interesting that its population is actually larger than at least one state,'' said Georgia Southern University Political Science professor Patrick Novotny. "And one of the studies done not too long ago said that Washington D.C. Residents are 19th or 20th in the nation in terms of taxes that they pay. So, they certainly pay a good share as so many Americans do. So at least for presidential elections, the Distric of Columbia can weigh in with their three electoral votes.''

It was simply an oversight by the founding fathers that deprived Washington D.C. residents the right to participate in presidential elections. They voted for the first time in 1964, the 45th presidential election in America's history.

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