WASHINGTON | D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray said Thursday that he will ask authorities to investigate allegations that his opponent, Mayor Adrian Fenty, offered jobs to some people if they cast ballots for him in early voting.
Fenty's campaign questioned the credibility of the allegations.
At a news conference outside his campaign headquarters, Gray said the allegations should be investigated quickly and objectively before Tuesday's Democratic primary election. He said this follows other claims over the weekend that Fenty offered to pay voters for casting their ballots.
"We're obviously deeply concerned about this," Gray said. "There are very few things that are more sacrosanct ... than the voting process."
Lloyd Jordan, Gray's campaign lawyer, said that any alleged vote-buying — if confirmed — would violate city and federal laws. Jordan said he intends to file letters to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics and to the FBI later Thursday requesting an investigation.
Residents have been able to cast their votes since Aug. 30 during early voting. The primary will decide who becomes mayor because no Republican is seeking the seat. Fenty has called himself the underdog in the tight race.
Rudolph Williams, 19, said vans from Fenty's campaign came to his northwest D.C. apartment building last Thursday and that workers said he and others could get temporary jobs with the campaign if they voted for Fenty. Williams said they filled out paperwork and were taken to a polling station.
After registering to vote, Williams said he cast his ballot for Fenty. He said he became upset because the campaign later failed to follow up and they involved him in something possibly unlawful.
"I want to take my vote back," Williams told The Associated Press. "It's disappointing. It's a lot of youth out here that are trying not to do illegal things to make money."
WJLA-TV, which first reported Williams' account, said at least three other people told the station they were offered a similar deal.
Fenty spokesman Sean Madigan said the campaign has found no evidence to support the allegations and officials want to ensure a fair process and maintain the integrity of the election.
"This is something we would absolutely never do. This is not what our campaign is about," he said. "We've asked if people have more specific claims and more specific information, we'd like to see the evidence as well."
Madigan said volunteers are told that giving rides to the polls and offering jobs on the campaign are completely separate. The campaign couldn't find records related to Williams, he said.
Messages left for the city elections board were not immediately returned.