Today we celebrate the anniversary of the 23rd Amendment (ratified March 29, 1961). Here’s what you need to know:
WHAT IT DOES
The 23rd Amendment made it possible for residents of the District of Columbia to vote in presidential elections.
WHY IT WAS ADDED
The District of Columbia was established as the nation’s capital in accordance with Article I, section 8 of the Constitution. But the Constitution did not account for the voting rights of the district’s residents. The 23rd Amendment guaranteed them the right to vote in presidential elections. However, they still do not have voting representation in Congress.
Section 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Civic holidays are occasions to commemorate America’s history, celebrate our rights and responsibilities as citizens, and learn about our constitutional ideals. Download a PDF of the 2013 Civic Calendar here.
Holly Munson is the Programs Coordinator at the National Constitution Center.