Tim Britt’s Nominating Petition Omitted Key Dates: Mistakes Considered Irreparable by DC Board of Elections
By Larry Janezich
Additional information about the removal of candidate Tim Britt’s name from the ballot provided by the DC Board of Elections on Friday morning reveals that, in addition to the single ineligible signature on the petition, eight signatures were undated, an omission that rendered those entries invalid and beyond redemption.
The Board held a “prehearing” meeting with the candidate and challenger on Monday. The prehearing is held, according to a Board of Election official, to “provide an opportunity for the two parties to agree what to do next.” Britt was told by Board a representative at that time that one of his signatures was that of an unregistered individual, and thus invalid. In addition, he was told that 8 signatures were invalid because they were not dated. Confronted with this information, Britt had no choice but to withdraw the petition. Except for the failure to enter a date, the 8 signatures were otherwise valid. Although the Board of Elections provides an opportunity for post-submission validation of petition signatures of registered voters who have a new address, there is no post-submission “cure” for undated signatures or unregistered signers.
A Board representative said that candidates are advised by staff to “check over” the petition when they submit it, but said that the candidate is responsible for making sure the information is accurate and complete. When asked why the Board does not offer more service to political newcomers who are subject to rules designed to root out political malfeasance but which, in this instance, punish an oversight that then disqualifies them for the ballot, the DC Board of Elections underscored the fact that it is the candidate’s responsibility to make sure signatures and petitions are correct.
For this reason, Kirsten Oldenburg, one of three commissioners to be censured during the current term of ANC 6B for a violation of its bylaws, will be running unopposed on the ballot. Of the other two censured ANC6B Commissioners, Dave Garrison is also running unopposed for reelection. The third commissioner – Norm Metzger – is not seeking reelection.