University of the District of Columbia Law Review


The League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia ("LWVDC"), a chapter of the League of Women Voters of the United States ("LWVUS" or the "League"), has long been a staunch supporter of equality for the District of Columbia ("D.C." or the "District") by advocating for voting rights in Congress, promoting local control of local affairs, and supporting a Constitutional amendment when it was proposed. Statehood for the People of D.C., as it is currently constructed, is a newer idea that has been shrouded in much confusion and misunderstanding for people in other parts of the country. In 2015, LWVDC launched a project entitled "Full Rights for D.C. Citizens," which was designed to provide clear and unbiased information to members of LWVUS chapters and their communities throughout the country. Nationwide, there are currently more than 750 local and state LWVUS chapters. In our article, the step-by-step process of developing this project will be described from its inception to the results ultimately achieved with the support of the LWVUS who received a grant to promote voting rights and statehood from the D.C. government in 2017 and partnered with LWVDC. Under the grant, LWVDC sought to educate members across the country about the facts surrounding D.C.'s lack of statehood. LWVDC members developed a series of background papers, quizzes in PowerPoint, a PowerPoint presentation, and a webinar. Members of the LWVDC went to five different states Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, and New York to meet with League members whom all noted they had learned from the presentation and were supportive of statehood efforts. The materials are now on the LWVDC website. Neighbors United for D.C. Statehood has described the project as a model that can be used with other similar national organizations. This article will conclude with a look at our follow-up plans, the lessons we have learned from our experiences, and suggestions for further outreach.

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