Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Challenges Galore, Board Paralyzed?

Ward 1 Democratic Chairman Bill O'Field has provided an analysis of the numerous challenges to nominating petitions filed by candidates seeking to be on the ballot for the September primary [Election Education Incorporated].  The deadline for filing such challenges expired yesterday.

According to Fields:
Valencia Mohammad filed challenges to the nominating petitions of mayoral candidates Carlos Allen and Sulaimon Brown and Dorothy Brizill and Gary Imhoff filed a challenge to mayoral candidate Leo Alexander’s petition. Chairman of the Council candidate Calvin Gurley’s nominating petition was challenged by Alonzo Edmondson.

Four challenges were filed to the nominating petitions of the five candidates seeking the Ward 5 City Council seat currently held by Harry Thomas, Jr. Cynthia M. Gill filed a challenge to Kathy Henderson’s petition; D.C. lawyer Cary Clennon is challenging Delano Hunter’s petition; and candidate Henderson is challenging both Kenyan McDuffie and Tracey D. Turner. Ward 6 Council candidate Randy Brown’s petition is being challenged by Jim Abely.
The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has until August 3 to rule on the challenges.  That may be an interesting feat given this morning's news that the Chair of DCBOEE, Errol Arthur, submitted his letter of resignation, effective August 2.  The three-member board has been running with only two members since February 2009.  With one member, the Board will lack a quorum to take action.  The D.C. Council and Mayor Fenty have been at an impasse on appointees for the already vacant position with the Council finding Mayor Fenty's nominees unqualified.  Last year, he sought to fill a vacant seat with one of his running buddies

If appointments to the DCBOEE are not made quickly, then the Board (and the election) will not be able to operate.  With the Council on recess, Mayor Fenty has threatened to make an interim emergency appointment, even though D.C. law does not explicitly provide him with such power.  Even the Mayor's cheerleaders at the Washington Post say "don't do it, Adrian."

Some have questioned whether the Board in its current condition will be able to certify the results of the September primary.  A more pressing question is whether they can even certify which candidates will appear on the ballot? 

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