Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Twenty-third Amendment (Amendment XXIII) to the United States Constitution extends the right to vote in the presidential election to citizens residing in the District of Columbia by granting the District electors in the Electoral College, as if it were a state. The amendment was proposed by the 86th Congress on June 16, 1960, and ratified by the states on March 29, 1961.

The Electoral College, established in Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, is the institution that officially elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. The President and Vice President are not elected directly by the voters. Instead, they are elected by "electors" who are chosen by popular vote on a state-by-state basis. As the District of Columbia is not a state, it was not entitled to any electors prior to the adoption of the Twenty-third Amendment. Citizens living in the district were therefore, shut out from the presidential–vice presidential election process. The first presidential election in which the District of Columbia participated was the election of 1964.

According to the terms of the amendment, the district is allocated as many electors as it would have if it were a state, but no more electors than the least populous state. The least populous state, Wyoming, has three electors; thus, the district cannot have more than three electors. Even if it were a state, the district's population would entitle it to only three electors. Since the passage of this amendment, the District's electoral votes have been cast for the Democratic Party's presidential and vice presidential candidates in every election.

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Primary Sources

The U.S. Constitution

American History

Political History

The Postwar and Modern Age (1945-present)

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