Supporters of a proposal to put Washington on the path to statehood yesterday asked the City Council to act to eliminate any need for a new election on the issue and to clear the way for elected and appointed District officials to run for statehood convention delegate.
Because an ambiguity exists in one section of the statehood referendum already approved by city voter, the attorney for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has said that there should be a second vote on the referendum. One of the proposed changes before the council would strike that ambiguity.
Only the D.C. League of Women Voters has supported the proposal to conduct a second election.
"Our primary goal is ratification of the D.C. voting rights amendment and home rule," said league president Sue Panzer. Panzer said that District voters who went to the polls last November knew that they were voting to call for a second ballot on the statehood issue.
Supporters of statehood -- including the 51st State Committee and the Statehood Party -- said that while the language of the referendum technically calls for a second vote, voters last November cast ballots on the assumption that they were choosing whether to order the convening of a convention.
All the proposed changes were introduced by council member Hilda Mason (Statehood-at-large), the city's only elected member of the Statehood Party. (
Under the city's initiative procedure, the council has authority to amend a voter-backed referendum.