The challenge period to the nominating petitions for the April 26, 2011 Special Election for at-Large Member of the Council is underway at the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE). The challenge period runs from yesterday, Saturday, February 19, through 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 28.
According to the DCBOEE http://www.dcboee.org/newsroom/showASPfile.asp?cat=News Releases&id=648&mid=2&yid=2011 and The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/17/AR2011021706884.html, eleven out of the 19 individuals who picked up nominating petitions have filed the requisite 3,000 signatures needed for ballot access for the special election. Those who filed petitions are: Sekou Biddle (D), Tom Brown (D), Dorothy Douglas (D), Calvin H. Gurley (D), Arkan Haile (IND), Joshua Lopez (D), Patrick Mara (R), Vincent Orange (D), Alan Page (STG), Jacque Patterson (D), and Bryan Weaver (D).
Challenges to their nominating petitions can be filed by any D.C. registered voter on the grounds that a circulator is not a registered voter, the petitioner (signer) is not a registered voter, or the signatures on the petition are in the same hand or do not match those of the registered voters in the Board’s file. (DCBOEE has the authority to and should refer those for criminal prosecution.) Also, petitioners may be challenged because they were not registered at the address on the petition at the time it was signed; however, D.C. law allows those individuals to file a change of address within 10 days of the date that a challenge is filed.
After the challenge period closes, DCBOEE has two weeks to resolve any and all challenges and then we will have a better idea of the names of the candidates on the ballot. However, a challenger or any person named in a challenge may apply within three days of the DCBOEE decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals for review. There is a potential that we may not know the final list of candidates on the ballot until March 18 when the entire ballot access process concludes.