The 23rd Amendment to the United States Constitution Explained

US Constitution
US Constitution

What is the 23rd Amendment?

Section One of the 23rd Amendment gives people who live in the District of Columbia suffrage in Presidential elections. Voters would now have representation in the Electoral College. These electors will then vote for President and Vice President based on whichever candidate wins most of the District’s votes.

In this proposed constitutional amendment, the overall number of electors that the District of Columbia receives would be the same as the number of Senators they would have if they were a State, but not more than the least populous State, regardless of the population.

The District of Columbia does have a delegate that goes before Congress to speak on behalf of all of the people living in the area. However, that delegate has no voting rights in Congress.

The Interpretation

The 23rd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States was proposed by Congress on June 17, 1960, and ratified on March 29, 1961.

Ohio was the state that fulfilled the requirement in Article V of the Constitution that three-fourths of states must ratify an amendment before it’s passed.

When Ohio approved the Twenty-Third Amendment, it became the thirty-eighth state to do so. Six months later, Public Law number 87-389 was enacted by Congress. The law confirmed the District of Columbia’s logistics concerning the Presidential election. The amendment treats the District of Columbia as a state for the Electoral College purposes only. This, therefore, enables the citizens’ votes to be tallied in the nationwide Presidential elections.

A Brief History of the Nation’s Capital.

In 1790 Philadelphia was the capital of the United States for ten years after the Constitution was ratified. Before this, New York was the capital. The District of Columbia was named as the Government’s official seat in the year 1800. When it was first established, the town’s population was small; it stood at only five thousand people. However, the District was a federal territory; it wasn’t a united state. This meant that there was no local government governing the people, and hence they couldn’t participate in national elections to vote.

The population in the District of Columbia continued growing, and by 1960, it reached 760,000 residents. By this time, the residents now had all of the citizenship rights and responsibilities and the right to vote on appropriate legislation. They were supposed to pay all the required taxes, and they were also eligible for being enlisted to perform duties in the military.

The Difference Between the District and a State

For citizens in the other thirteen states, more voting rights were handed to them than district residents. This happened even though the states had a much lower population than the District. However, the Twenty-Third Amendment does not automatically make Washington D.C. a State. The residents are not granted the number of electors they would have had if Washington D.C. was a State. The residents also do not get representation in Congress provided by the Twenty-Third Amendment.

In Washington, D.C., there is only one non-voting representative to the House of Representatives for the residents. The amendment also does not interfere with how governing takes place in the District. Congress stipulates the District’s form of Government.

One Response

  1. The modern day writer/author of this article wrote, “The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is a single sentence with profound implications. It reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    I believe the write/author does not understand or take into consideration the writing styles and punctuation practice of our 1780-’90 era Founding Fathers…

    For example, one sentence may and often does contain more than one thought separated commonly during the 1780-’90 era by innocuous commas (,) or semi-colons (;) or colons (:).

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    The 2nd Amendment has at least two or three such subjects: a) A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, … Note that a Militia is not a “National Guard”. The National Guard is regulated, controlled and paid by the National Government whereas a “militia” is a strict volunteer organization of pure volunteers who elect their officers and commanders and pay for their own uniforms, equipment and weapons; b) the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, Note this means exactly what it reads…the RIGHT to KEEP and BEAR, i.e. carry Arms and c) shall not be infringed. Note this subject applies to either or both subject “A well regulated Militia” and/or “the right to keep and bear Arms. Note: “shall not be infringed” meaning will not be infringed upon by Government…

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