WaPo LTE on Right to Vote: "Everyone Really Should Mean Everyone"

The Washington Post recently published a Letter to the Editor by Neil Weare, President of We the People Project, making the case for full voting rights for the nearly 5 million Americans living in the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

Here is the full text of the Letter, which is available at the Washington Post here.

The Post is right that President Obama could have said more in his State of the Union address about the rights of those who are disenfranchised because they live in the District [“Fail to mention,” editorial, Jan. 30]. My ears perked up, though, when the president said, “Citizenship means standing up for everyone’s right to vote.” This suggests it shouldn’t just be a District issue: More than 4 million Americans cannot vote for president because they live in U.S. territories.

Together, the population of the District and U.S. territories is greater than that of half the states and larger than the six smallest states combined. More than 160,000 veterans live in these areas, with over 20,000 having served in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is power in numbers.

Bringing residents of the territories into the mix could also make for good politics. These Americans are primarily Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander, groups both major parties have an interest in reaching. Residents of the territories are swing voters, a fact to which Republican governors in these areas can attest. And speaking of swing voters, nearly a million Floridians have ties to Puerto Rico.

Everyone really should mean everyone.

Neil Weare, Washington

The writer is president of the We the People Project.

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