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D.C. Elections-Related Legislation Update

By Miriam Edelman

This post is a follow-up to the House Republicans Use “Oversight” Hearings to Inflict Insults on the District of Columbia piece. That piece discussed the U.S. House a hearing of earlier 2023 regarding American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act.


The House continues its interference in D.C.’s local elections. At least two bills were passed out of committee.


ACE Act

On June 10, 2023, the U.S. House Committee on House Administration Bryan Steil (R-WI) introduced H.R. 4563 – American Confidence in Elections Act. The bill has 119 cosponsors, all of whom are Republican. In a press release about this introduction, that committee describes that bill’s anti-D.C. parts:

Voting in elections should be reserved only for U.S. citizens. Currently, Washington D.C. and New York City allow non-citizens to vote. D.C.’s law is so ridiculous, it will let embassy staff from Russia and China vote after living in the Capital for just 30 days. Our bill prohibits federal funds from going to places that allow non-citizens to vote and stops non-citizens from voting in D.C.


The second pillar of the ACE Act will exercise Congress’s constitutional responsibility over D.C. Reforms will not only prohibit non-citizens from voting, but also implement strong photo voter ID laws, require annual voter list maintenance, and stop the unsolicited mailing of ballots to unmaintained lists.


After years of mismanaged elections, our nation's capital will become a model for states.


The House held multiple events relating to the ACE Act. House Republicans held a press conference on this legislation. They said that D.C. will be a model for the United States. Multiple times, they attacked non-citizens being able to vote in local D.C. elections. At a mark-up on July 13, 2023, the U.S. Committee on House Administration passed the ACE Act.


In a press release, D.C. Delegate Norton condemned this markup. She decried Congress for continuing to attack D.C. and for the ACE Act, which would make it harder to vote and run elections. She said,

Yesterday’s markup demonstrated the Republican commitment to meddling in local D.C. affairs and making voting as difficult as possible for D.C. residents. It is ironic that Republicans in Congress, who do not represent D.C., are abusing their undemocratic power over D.C. in an attempt to make voting more difficult in a jurisdiction that is already denied voting representation in Congress. While I will work to defeat their bill, the markup was the latest form of the wide-ranging anti-home rule attacks D.C. continues to suffer at the hands of Republicans in Congress.


H.R.192

Another anti-D.C. elections bill is H.R.192 - To prohibit individuals who are not citizens of the United States from voting in elections in the District of Columbia (The “Fears-Turned Reality: Congress and the District of Columbia in 2023 So Far” blog post mentions this bill.). On July 12, 2023, Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX) introduced this bill, another effort to end non-citizen voting in D.C. This bill has 24 co-sponsors, all of whom are Republicans. It is not Pfluger’s first bill on this topic. On October 11, 2022, after the D.C. Council advanced a bill granting the right to vote in local D.C. elections to non-residents, he introduced a bill on the same issue.


On July 12, 2023, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee passed that bill with a 23 Aye (all Republicans – Three Republicans did not vote.) and 19 Nays (All Democrats – One Democrat did not vote.) at a mark-up. Chairman Comer acknowledged that the U.S. Congress failed to prevent D.C.’s non-citizens voting bill from becoming law, but he is not giving up with undermining D.C. democracy. Ranking Member Raskin said he would title the bill, the Insult to Injury Bill, the insult starting with the disenfranchisement of residents of our nation’s capital. He also said that Republicans championed noncitizens voting and that Southerners opposed this voting. D.C. Delegate Norton opposed this undemocratic bill and said that Republicans introduced 17 bills that would overturn D.C. election laws. She said that the majority “black and brown” D.C. population can govern themselves and that the U.S. Supreme Court stated that Congress can “delegate full legislative power” “to D.C. on local D.C. matters.” According to Norton, 40 states, including the home states of the bill sponsor (Pfluger) and of Chairman Comer, have allowed noncitizens voting. Although the U.S. fought the Revolutionary War to end taxation without representation, D.C. residents experience taxation without representation. She supported D.C. statehood. Representative Robert Garcia (D-CA) remarked that three of the 12 (equally one-quarter) full committee hearings of the Oversight and Accountability Committee focused on D.C. This committee has worked more on the District of Columbia than anything else, and he referred to D.C. as the committee’s “political punching bag.” He said that people can run for local D.C. office. Chairman Comer countered by saying that that committee has had approximately 60 hearings, including subcommittee hearings. According to Representative Garcia, the committee’s name should be the House Oversight Committee on the District of Columbia. Comer attacked D.C.’s crime rate. Ranking Member Raskin referred to D.C. as “a voteless colony.”


D.C. Delegate Norton’s office issued a press release in response to this mark-up. In it, Norton said, “Although I am disappointed Rep. Pfluger’s bill was reported out of committee today, I vow to work to defeat this anti-home-rule bill. Despite these constant attacks on D.C. election laws, congressional Republicans have refused to do the one and only thing D.C. residents have asked them to do about elections in D.C.: to give D.C. residents voting representation in the House and Senate, as well as full control over their local affairs, by passing the D.C. statehood bill.”


Other House Bills

The following are some, not necessarily all, other bills of this Congress that aim to interfere with local D.C. elections:

- H.R. 4396 – American Confidence in Elections: District of Columbia Citizen Voter Act – Introduced by Representative Mike Bost (R-IL) – This bill would “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prohibit noncitizen voting in District of Columbia elections, and for other purposes.”

- H.R. 4415 – American Confidence in Elections: District of Columbia Election Fraud Prevention Act – Introduced by Representative Glen Grothman (R-WI) – This bill would “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prohibit collection and transmission of ballots by certain third parties in District of Columbia elections, and for other purposes.”

- H.R. 4477 – American Confidence in Elections: District of Columbia Election Integrity and Voter Confidence Act – Introduced by Representative Ben Cline (R-VA) – This bill would “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to establish requirements for the administration of elections for public office in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.”

- H.R. 4487 – American Confidence in Elections: District of Columbia Photographic Poll Books Act – Introduced by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) – This bill would “establish certain requirements with respect to the inclusion of a photograph or digital image of the likeness of an individual who is eligible to vote in a District of Columbia election in the poll book which contains the name of the individuals who are eligible to vote in the District of Columbia election, and for other purposes.”

- H.R. 4488 – American Confidence in Elections: District of Columbia Voter Identification Act – Introduced by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) – This bill would “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to establish certain photo identification requirements for voting in District of Columbia elections and to require proof of citizenship to register to vote in District of Columbia elections, and for other purposes.”

- H.R. 4492 – American Confidence in Elections: District of Columbia Tribal Voter Identification Act – Introduced by Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) – This bill would “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require the District of Columbia to accept a current and valid photo identification of an individual which is issued by a Tribal Government for the purposes of registering to vote and voting in a District of Columbia election, and for other purposes.”

- H.R. 4493 – District of Columbia One Vote One Choice Act – Introduced by Representative Michael Lawler (R-NY) – This bill would “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prohibit the use of ranked choice voting in a District of Columbia election, and for other purposes.”

- H.R. 4494 – Ensuring Faith in Our Elections Act – Introduced by Representative Laurel Lee (R-FL) – This bill would “promote election integrity, voter confidence, and faith in elections by removing Federal impediments to, providing State tools for, and establishing voluntary considerations to support effective State administration of Federal elections and improving election administration in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.” – That’s bill’s subtitle C, which is Requirements for Elections in District of Columbia, has subsections regarding requirements for photo identification, requirements for voter registration, a ban on collection and transmission of ballots by specific third parties, processing and reporting of results, ban on noncitizens voting, requirements about provisional ballots, required post-election audits, public observation of elections, requirements for voting by mail, requirements regarding drop boxes, requirements relating to federal elections, and definition of D.C. elections.

- H.R. 4496 – American Confidence in Elections: District of Columbia Voter List Maintenance Act – Introduced by Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) – This bill would “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to establish certain requirements for voter registration with respect to District of Columbia elections, and for other purposes.”

- H.R. 4523 – American Confidence in Elections: District of Columbia Ballot Security Act – Introduced by Representative Nathaniel Moran (R-TX) – This bill would “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to establish certain requirements with respect to use of drop boxes for a District of Columbia election, and for other purposes”

- H.R. 4543 – American Confidence in Elections: District of Columbia Timely Reporting of Election Results Act – Introduced by Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL) – This bill would “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to establish certain requirements for the timely processing and reporting of results with respect to a District of Columbia election, and for other purposes.”

- H.R. 4650 – American Confidence in Elections: District of Columbia Provisional Ballot Reform Act – Introduced by Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) – This bill would “amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to establish certain requirements for casting a provisional ballot in a District of Columbia election, and for other purposes.”


Call to Action

Prevent anti-D.C. election bills from becoming law. Write to your Members of Congress. Keep up to date with Congressional actions and respond accordingly.


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