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.
I am not too sympathetic about the lack of congressional representation for the many D.C. residents who settled in the city as adults presumably knowing that they would not have such representation. However, the rubric of “no taxation without representation” is very compelling. I wonder whether D.C. residents, if faced with a choice in a referendum, would choose exemption from federal income taxes rather than congressional representation.
Ted Hochstadt, Falls Church