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Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution
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Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution was proposed by Congress on on June 17, 1960, and ratified by the states on March 29, 1961. It permits the District to choose Electors for President and Vice President.


Section 1

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.

District of Columbia Voting Rights

The District of Columbia was originally envisioned as a center of government, not of population. Nevertheless, in 1960, the District had a greater population than each of thirteen states. The District, however, did not have the power to select members of the Electoral College in Presidential elections; the problem was addressed by the Amendment. The District of Columbia may now choose, in such a manner as Congress directs, as many Electors as could a state of its population (each state chooses as many Electors as it has Senators and Representatives). The District, however, may not in any event choose more Electors than the least populous state. Since Wyoming, the least populous state (with a population of under five hundred thousand according to the 2000 Census), chooses only three Electors, the District of Columbia may choose only three Electors. In this case, however, the limit played no role; the District would have been entitled to just three electors in any event.

The Amendment does not make the District of Columbia a state; it does not grant the District representation in the United States Congress, either. In 1978, Congress proposed an Amendment that would permit the District of Columbia to choose Electors, Representatives and Senators just like a state; the Amendment expired in 1985 after a seven-year deadline was passed without ratifications by three-fourths of the states.


22nd Amendment Amendments
United States Constitution
24th Amendment