Calling the step necessary to fix a flawed democracy, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois today submitted testimony in support of House Joint Resolution 16, supporting statehood for the District of Columbia.

“House Joint Resolution 16 addresses a serious flaw in our democracy — the lack of meaningful representation for the more than 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia,” said Colleen Connell, Executive Director, ACLU of Illinois. “Each of these people deserve the same for voting rights as every other American. The ongoing denial of full voting rights for the residents of DC, most of whom are Black and Brown, is an egregious example of voter suppression which is sweeping our country today.”

As of December 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates D.C.’s population has grown to 712,000. Among D.C.’s voting population today are more than 11,000 active-duty service members and more than 30,000 veterans, all of whom are being denied their full voting rights simply because they live in D.C.

“It is long past time for D.C. to be granted statehood. Making D.C. a state is not a partisan issue, it is a campaign for equal civil rights. It is a democratic effort to re-enfranchise more than 712,000 Americans who have been wrongly denied their full voting rights for more than 200 years. Every member of our state legislature, every member of the U.S. Congress, and every person who believes in our Democracy and equal rights should support D.C. statehood. The ACLU of Illinois encourages you to pass this resolution and add your voice to those demanding statehood for our fellow Americans in Washington, DC. It is time for this historic wrong to be corrected,” Connell concluded.

You can read the testimony in full here.