Connolly is a Democrat in his sixth term representing some of the Virginia suburbs of Washington in the House of Representatives.
For the first time in more than two decades, the House Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing last month to examine the potential admission of Washington, D.C., as our 51st state. But at its core, I believe that hearing examined whether we are truly a democratic republic.
Do we as a nation want to continue the disenfranchisement of the approximately 702,000 Americans who currently reside in Washington, D.C.? Are we okay with denying our neighbors the same rights as other U.S. citizens because they live on land suitable to a dinner table compromise between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton regarding the location of our nation's capital? Our Founding Fathers denied many Americans the right to vote, but through centuries of effort this nation has worked to reverse its narrow view of the franchise — except in the nation's capital. I, for one, believe it is past time for us to act on this moral imperative. Others, unfortunately, do not.
Two-thirds of the counties in Wisconsin — home to more than 70 percent of its population — have gone on record in favor of de-politicizing the state's legislative mapmaking.
A coalition of good-government groups has been leading the effort to gain support among county governments to end partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin. They are advocating for legislation that has some bipartisan support in Madison but is still seen as a long shot. It would take redistricting responsibility out of the hands of the Legislature in 2021 and give it to state bureaucrats, who would be barred from considering partisan voting patterns in drawing boundaries.
Wisconsin is the first state to consider such legislation since the Supreme Court this summer said federal courts had no role in settling partisan gerrymandering claims.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Tuesday three democracy reform bills focused on local redistricting, voting access and campaign contributions.
The first piece of legislation prohibits partisan gerrymandering at the local level by establishing criteria for cities and counties to use when adjusting district boundaries. While California is the largest state to use an independent redistricting commission to draw its congressional and state district maps, local districts did not have the same regulations.
With elections for every seat in Virginia's Legislature less than four weeks away, a coalition of progressive candidates is hoping to sway voters with the promise to push democracy reform.
In a letter being sent Thursday to every member of the General Assembly, 32 Democrats vying in November — about half with a realistic hope of winning — underscored their commitment to advancing an array of campaign finance and voting rights proposals if they get elected.
"We write to you today to put Richmond on notice. We are determined to reform the broken system and spark a restoration of confidence should we be granted the honor of serving our respective districts," they wrote.