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'DC should have complete authority' | New bill seeks to give District power over local special election dates

The bill is the 23rd so far that Norton has introduced this Congress in her "Free and Equal D.C." series.

WASHINGTON — D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced a new bill Tuesday to give the District control over its own special election dates for local offices. 

The bill, entitled the District of Columbia Special Elections Home Rule Act, seeks to strengthen D.C.’s home-rule authority and give them an ability that other jurisdictions already possess; the bill does not require statehood. 

“The bill simply removes a limitation on the District that is not only inconsistent with the self-government authority otherwise granted by the Home Rule Act, but is also counterproductive,” Norton's team stated via press release.

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The bill is the 23rd so far that Norton has introduced this Congress in her "Free and Equal D.C." series. Norton said she has continued to introduce bills to reduce the federal government’s control over local D.C. matters and to expand D.C. equality while the fight for statehood continues.

Other recent bills in the series include the D.C. Legislative Autonomy Bill, which would eliminate the congressional review period for bills passed by the D.C. Council, enabling local D.C. bills to take effect immediately; the District of Columbia Government Title Equality Act, which would redesignate the D.C. mayor as a governor, the D.C. Council as a legislative assembly, the D.C. Councilmembers as representatives, and the Chair of the Council as the speaker. She also introduced the McIntire-Stennis Act District of Columbia Equality Act, which would make the District eligible for federal funding that supports forestry research under the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Act, as the states and three territories are already eligible. 

“[District of Columbia Special Elections Home Rule Act] follows legislation we got enacted in 2012 that gave the D.C. Board of Elections (“Board”) more flexibility to set the date of special elections for local offices to maximize voter participation,” Norton said in a Tuesday statement. “Although we sought complete authority for the District over the scheduling of special elections, the 2012 law, the District of Columbia Special Election Reform Act, did not include this home-rule principle. D.C. should have complete authority over a matter that is unrelated to any other congressional district and has no relevance to Congress.”

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