It’s unclear just how many D.C. residents will vote in Tuesday’s traditionally low-turnout special election. Will more vote this time than in the last citywide special election, in 2011, when 46,967 voted — a 10.3 percent turnout? What we know is that of the 2,894 residents who cast ballots during early voting this year, scores were homeless. They were organized by Shelter, Housing and Respectful Change and the Washington Interfaith Network, which held a rally April 13 at a downtown homeless shelter, after which about 80 homeless residents voted.
District of Columbia
Articles about voting issues in The District of Columbia.
District of Columbia: Elections Board says it lacks funds to improve on questionable track record | Washington Examiner
The District Board of Elections Chairwoman Deborah Nichols accused the mayor’s office Tuesday of “nickel-and-diming the electorate” by underfunding next month’s special election by more than $200,000 of its requested budget. The city has allocated $832,788 for the April 23 special election, which features a seven-person contest for an at-large D.C. Council seat and referendum that would give the city budget autonomy. The Board of Elections said it requested $1,046,800. Election officials said they needed money to ensure that election facilities and other expenses get paid. Additionally, further funding could be used to publicize the special election to improve voter turnout or to improve pay for election workers.
D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton once again introduced legislation to Congress that would make D.C. the country’s 51st state. This isn’t the first time she has introduced such a bill and likely won’t be her last. The New Columbia Admissions Act would give the State of New Columbia two voting senators and a voting member of the House of Representatives. The bill stipulates that the state would not have jurisdiction over federal buildings and territory within its borders.
The motorcade for President Obama’s Inaugural Parade on Monday will feature a shout-out to Washington, D.C., voting rights advocates. D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh’s office confirmed to ABC News that Obama plans to equip his limos with license plates reading “Taxation Without Representation,” a reference to D.C.’s lack of a proxy in the House of Representatives and the Senate. “President Obama has lived in the District now for four years, and has seen first-hand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes, without having a vote in Congress,” White House spokesman Keith Maley said in a statement.
The D.C. Board of Elections on Tuesday rejected arguments from the city’s top lawyer and will let voters decide this spring if they want to divorce the city’s local budget from the spending process on Capitol Hill — a long-sought goal known as “budget autonomy.” The board’s decision came a day after D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan reluctantly implored the board to be “courageous” and to deny a proposed charter referendum from the ballot, even if it would be a politically unpopular stance. He said the measure is legally unsound and could create a backlash from members of Congress.
A little more than three weeks remain before the deadline for D.C. residents to request absentee ballots for the Nov. 6 election. But those in need are currently unable to download an absentee application from the Board of Elections Web site. The online absentee function gives users an error when they try to display a personalized application form: “This URL is not valid. Please try again.” A resident who contacted me said the function has been down “for some days.” The alternative is hauling oneself down the board’s offices at One Judiciary Square downtown.
A name that has graced the city political scene for four decades is on its way to the dustbin of history: The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics is now officially the D.C. Board of Elections. The change follows enactment of the city’s new ethics law; that established the new Board of Ethics and Government Accountability to handle the matters encompassed under the “ethics” portion of the BOEE name, which dates back to the earliest days of home rule. Legally speaking, the BOEE became the BOE in late January, when the ethics bill became law. But only in the past few weeks has the board — busy earlier with a primary and special election — moved to publicly change its name.
Elections officials in the District are condemning conservative activist James O’Keefe as a “prankster” for his latest hidden-camera ploy, in which he sent an associate inside a D.C. polling place to demonstrate the need for “voter ID” laws by showing he could vote as the U.S. attorney general. In a statement, the Board of Elections and Ethics said the O’Keefe associate was “misrepresenting his identity” by walking into Spring Valley’s Precinct 9 on Tuesday and asking a poll worker if Eric Holder appeared on the rolls. But a representative of O’Keefe’s Project Veritas said no laws were broken in the incident. The attorney general is indeed registered to vote in the precinct, and the poll worker invited the man to sign the poll book and proceed to vote. At that point, the man inquired about providing ID and was told it was not necessary before he left. The board said that the Holder incident is one of “multiple incidents” that took place last Tuesday that it continues to investigate. O’Keefe teased other hidden-camera episodes in the Holder video.
District of Columbia: James O’Keefe tries to defend voter ID laws by filming D.C. election workers | The Washington Post
Conservative activist James O’Keefe’s latest project aims to lampoon the mostly Democratic opposition to “voter ID” laws, and does so by focusing hidden cameras on last week’s D.C. primary elections. In the first of several promised clips, an O’Keefe associate tries to see if he can vote as Eric H. Holder, attorney general of the United States and longtime Spring Valley resident. Why Holder? Under his leadership, the Justice Department has objected to laws requiring voters to present identification in states subject to preclearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. People like O’Keefe think voter ID laws are a common sense way to prevent voter fraud; people like Holder say they address a problem that doesn’t exist, and the laws would give officials new pretext to keep legitimate voters from casting ballots.
Electronic voting has earned a pretty bad reputation for being insecure and completely unreliable. Well, get ready to add another entry to e-voting’s list of woes. One Bender Bending Rodríguez was elected to the 2010 school board in Washington DC. A team of hackers from the University of Michigan got Bender elected as a write-in candidate who stole every vote from the real candidates. Bender, of course, is a cartoon character from the TV series Futurama. This was not some nefarious attack from a group of rogue hackers: The DC school board actually dared hackers to crack its new Web-based absentee voting system four days ahead of the real election. University of Michigan professor Alexander Halderman, along with two graduate students, did the deed within a few hours.