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Washington, DC Passes Measure To Become 51st State

District of Columbia residents voted overwhelmingly on Nov. 8 to petition Congress for statehood.

The ballot measure to admit the District into the Union as the State of New Columbia passed easily with 79 percent of the vote and will now head to Congress, which has the ability to either approve or deny it, reports NPR. If it passes through the legislature, the measure would turn the district into a residential state, exempting a small federal district in its center for government buildings and monuments.

The measure included provisions to approve a Constitution of the State of New Columbia for the state's Council, which would be drawn up after the vote. Residents also voted to define the state's boundaries and ensure that it would have an elected representative government and full congressional representation.

"Today, nearly 80 [percent] of District voters cast a ballot for full democracy and citizenship," Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a Nov. 8 Facebook post, according to WRC-TV​. We pause tonight to celebrate this remarkable milestone in the District's decades-long fight for fundamental fairness."

D.C. residents pay federal taxes and enlist in the military, but they do not have any senators. They do have one congresswoman who does not have any voting powers.

"Today's over-the-top majority signals D.C. recognizes that Congress needs a kick in the pants to jump start a new drive for statehood," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who won re-election with 89 percent of the vote, said on Election Day.

Past attempts to move forward with making D.C. into a state have stalled in the Republican-led chambers of Congress, since the district's residents have a Democratic majority of more than two to one. If the national legislature approves the petition, the State of New Columbia would likely elect two Democratic senators and one Democratic representative.

But there is one very important person who came out in 2015 in favor of "whatever is best for them" when it comes to the people of D.C. -- President-elect Donald Trump.

"I would look at a number of things," Trump told NBC's Meet the Press at the time, when asked about the region's statehood. "And something would be done that everybody would be happy."

Sources: NPR, WRC-TVNBC / Photo credit: Djembayz/Wikimedia Commons

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